With summer approaching, we need to protect our dogs from the heat. This is something I’ve covered before. But it’s such an important topic that I want to do a revisit.
We all know to never leave a dog in a parked car when it’s warm outside. Not even for a few minutes. But, aside from this obvious safety tip, there other things we can do to keep our precious pets comfortable and cool, when the temperature soars?
Cooling Mat for Outside Dogs
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For instance, some people like to use special cooling mats for dogs when it gets really warm. They also try to keep their pets in an air-conditioned room as much as possible.
Heat stroke in dogs is a real risk. No one knows just how often this happens, because I don’t think anyone is keeping track.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Heat
Certain breeds, such as English bulldogs, are at higher risk to becoming overheated. So you may have to take extra steps to keep them cool them the temperate climbs. You have to be careful with any dog, but you need to be especially cautious with dogs bred to have shorter-than-average snouts. Frail or elderly dogs also need extra attention in the heat. Obesity can also increase the risk of heat-related problems.
Unlike humans, dogs do not cool themselves by sweating. So it’s really important that we take steps to safeguard their health when it’s hot outside.
Protecting Dogs in the Heat
Because heat stroke is potentially deadly, you’ll want to watch for any potential signs of trouble, and seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a problem. Here are a few tips to prevent this serious problem from developing in the first place. Please understand I’m not a veterinarian, so these are only suggestions.
Your vet can give you more information, and advise you how to keep your pet safe. He or she may have more tips to offer, in addition to what I’m putting out for discussion here. I encourage my readers to work closely with their animal’s healthcare provider, since I’m a dog Mom, and not veterinarian.
- Air Conditioning for Dogs – If your dog stays home alone while you work, you should consider running the air conditioner even while your gone. This may be something that’s absolutely necessary, if you have a high-risk breed, such as an English bulldog.
- Go for Early Morning Walks – Dogs need exercise. But schedule your walks so that you take your pet for a stroll in the early morning or early evening. Make sure you don’t walk your pet too long when it’s warm.
- Provide Plenty of Water – If your pet is going to be outside, make sure he can stay in the shade. If you plan to be away from home for the better part of the day, maybe consider using a water dispenser. This is especially good if you have multiple dogs, since they can drain a water bowl pretty fast. This will ensure that your dog will stay hydrated in the heat.
The Critter Concepts Dog Water Dispenser is designed to provide water throughout the day. You can also keep this drinking water cool by freezing a plastic water jug, and placing it inside the dispenser, which is made from BPA-free plastic.
- Let Your Dog Splash Around – You may want to think about putting a kiddie pool in your yard or on your deck so your dog can cool himself off.
- Keep Your Dog Groomed – If you have a long-haired dog, consider getting some of his fur cut off, just short enough to provide relief from the heat. But you also need to keep it long enough to prevent sunburn.
- Cooling Pad for Dogs – This is a good solution for short-term cooling. There are specially designed mats that have internal cooling mechanisms that kick in when your dog lies down on them. The Green Pet Shop Self Cooling Pet Pad contains a non-toxic cooling gel. It will stay cool for several hours, according to the manufacturer. It does not need electricity or refrigeration.
- Learn to Take Your Dog’s Temperature – Some veterinarians recommend learning to take your dog’s temperature. There are special thermometers designed for animals that you can order online. You can use these if you have any question as to whether a particular environment could cause your pet to overheat.
- Give Your Dog Sponge Baths – You can give your dog a sponge bath with cool water in the heat of the day.
- Cooling Collars for Dogs – This is another option for short-term cooling. Personally, I wouldn’t leave one of these collars on my dog all day in the heat, because the freezer tube (or ice cubes for outside use) will melt. But a dog cooling collar might be a good solution for walks or short car rides in searing heat.
- Safety at the Groomer – After it was reported that a dog died from heatstroke after being left unattended in a groomer drying cage, more attention is being paid to this potential risk. I just read an excellent article in which the writer pointed out that not all groomers use heat dryers. A heat dryer in an enclosed cage is the biggest problem. If you’re taking your dog for grooming, especially in hot weather, find out about the drying process.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion for Dogs
Heat stroke is a potentially deadly condition. If you notice any of these signs, take steps to cool your dog while rushing him to the vet. This is a medical emergency. Here are some common symptoms of heatstroke I found while reading online articles about this very serious condition.
- An Increase in Panting – Heavy or fast panting may be cause for concern.
- A rectal body temperate that exceeds 103 degrees F.
- A tongue that’s bright red.
- Discoloration of gums. They may be either bright red or very pale.
- Unsteady gait
- General weakness
- Inability to be roused.
There are only some of the signs. If you notice anything is amiss, and suspect that heat is a problem, make sure your dog gets immediate medical attention.
Photo credit/Javier Brosch/Bigstock.com