Summer has officially kicked off! Here in Arizona, we are in record breaking heat temps! With new summer schedules, theres all sorts of fun activities to take part in, you may even want to bring your furry friend along. Remember that the sweltering heat can take its toll on your dog. Sadly, there have already been deaths of dogs due to heat and negligent ownership this summer in Arizona, so keep a look out for other dogs as well and report any concerns you may have, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some important things to remember as you and your dog prepare for the summer heat:
Dogs suffer from heat stroke
Like us, dogs can quickly come down with a bad case of heat stroke. Unlike people though, dogs have very limited ability to cool off by sweating. Dogs have sweat glands on their foot pads only. The main way dogs cool down is by panting and in some instances, it can be insufficient to lower body temperature on a very hot day. Don't leave your dog outside for more than a few minutes, because even in the shade, a dog exposed to extreme heat and humidity can suffer a heatstroke.
Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse. If you think your dog may have heatstroke, get the vet ASAP! The condition can cause permanent organ damage and death.
Breeds with shorter noses (such as Pugs, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Bulldogs and Boxers) as well as very young and senior dogs are especially vulnerable.
Keep your pet hydrated
Any time your dog is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun. Make sure it has plenty of fresh, cold water. In extreme heat, add ice to water when possible. You will need to fill the water bowl more often on hot days. If you're out and about with your pet carry an extra bottle of water with you and bring along a small container from which they can drink.
Walk the dog during cooler hours
In the hot summer months, consider walking your dog either in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less harsh. Also, be sure to walk your dog on grass or dirt to avoid burning their paws on the hot pavement and provide access to shade at all times.
Shaving isn't always best
Many pet owners believe it's best to shave their dogs - and in some cases it is. However, shaving your dog leaves your dog more susceptible to biting flies, and mosquitoes that their fur would have provided a protection layer from. Dogs also need protection form the sun and shaving them can also increase their exposure risk. Believe it or not, many dogs coats, while seemingly thick, actually helps keep them cool. Always check with your vet before shaving your dog in the summer. Brushing your dogs coat regularly can ward off summer skin problems and help your dogs stay cool.
Not all dogs are natural born swimmers
Swimming is a great option to beat the summer heat, but did you know that not all dogs are born to swim?! Some breeds such as bulldogs, basset hounds and pugs have more difficulty than others. Just be mindful of your dogs, physical ability, stamina and breathing capability before you set out for a long day of swimming. They also make dog life vests to keep your dog safe during those water fun days you have planned.
NEVER leave a dog in the car EVER!
You should NEVER leave your dog in the car no matter how quick you think you will be. A car can heat up quickly even when it's relatively mild outside, even with the windows cracked. Temperatures inside a vehicle can climb in a matter of minutes and can spike more than 40 degrees in just an hour. Dogs can’t sweat like humans, so they pant to lower their body temperature. If they’re inside a car, recycling very hot air, panting gives no relief, and heat stroke can happen quickly.
We hope you and your pets have a great and safe summer! Stay cool!