Sunshine, blue sky, and warm weather scream summer has arrived! Dogs enjoy taking walks and playing outdoors in the fresh summer air but did you know your dog could be at risk for heat exhaustion or heatstroke? Many pet parents don’t realize dogs can experience heatstroke and it doesn’t take much for it to happen.
All dogs are in danger of developing heatstroke during hot summer days but some breeds are prone to overheating such as Shih Tzus, Pugs, and Bulldogs. Also, overweight, seniors and those with breathing difficulties can find hot weather challenging.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include excessive panting, red gums, drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, uncoordinated movement, seizures, collapse, and loss of consciousness. The following tips will help you protect your dog from the summer heat and prevent heatstroke.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
One of the best ways to prevent heatstroke is to keep your dog hydrated. Make sure your dog has access to fresh cool water throughout the day and night. Carrying a collapsible water bowl and bottles of cool water with you while taking your dog for a walk will help keep them hydrated.
Dogs that enjoy playing outdoors need to take a rest in the shade to prevent overheating. You can create shade in your yard by planting trees, adding a picnic table or bench for your dog to hide under, or installing a patio cover or awning. Dog houses can also provide shade but they need to have superior ventilation to prevent the interior from reaching scorching temperatures.
Create Summer Time Fun with Water
Most dogs love water and warm summer weather is the perfect time of year to allow your dog to indulge in cooling off in the water. You can add a kiddie pool to your yard or allow your dog to run around in the sprinklers. Both of these activities effectively cool your dog down in the summer heat. If you have a swimming pool, you can invite your dog to swim with you and make it a summertime family event.
Walk Your Dog When It’s Cooler Outside
Your dog still needs daily walks during the summer but it’s best to choose the time of day when the sun is not too strong. Try to take your dog for a walk early in the morning and after the sun goes down. Avoid going outdoors in the middle of the day when the sun is the strongest. If you have a fenced-in yard, allow your dog to go outdoors for a potty break and ask them to come back inside within a few minutes to prevent long-term exposure to intense heat.
Avoid Leaving Your Dog in a Hot Car
Never leave dogs alone in cars. The temperature inside the car during hot weather rises quickly and can reach over 100 degrees within minutes. Unfortunately, this scenario has led to heat stroke and death in many dogs. Make sure you bring your dog indoors with you at all times to prevent harming your dog.
The summer season is a fun time of year when you can bond with your dog and go outdoors more often. Make the summer fun by splashing around in the sprinklers, pool, or lake. Don’t forget to provide plenty of water and a tasty option such as your dog’s favorite meaty treat hidden inside an ice cube. If you notice signs or symptoms of heatstroke in your dog, visit a veterinarian or animal hospital immediately. Protect your dog from heat exhaustion by following these tips and have a great summer!