How To Take Care Of Your Dog When It’s Hot?
Man’s best friend has always been there for us, and we need to always be there for them too. Our dogs rely on us solely for all their nutrition, exercise, social and bonding needs. And while they may only be around for a short part of our lives, to them, we are 100% of their lives. When taking care of our pups while traveling together around the world, managing their comfort by keeping the temperature down during hotter weather should be high on your priority list.
Circumstances where dogs may be impacted by heat
Dogs enjoy outdoor exercise, and if left to their own devices would run around for hours playing happily and rolling in the grass. As a dog owner, you’re probably familiar with the tantrum your pooch has when you tell them it’s time to head home. Exercise is important for your dog’s wellbeing but can be detrimental to their health in the summer heat. Similarly, if your dog’s house is outside or you have a dog fence, make sure to keep an eye on him and provide plenty of water and shade during the warmer months.
Stories of dogs being left behind in cars with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius aren’t urban legends. The internet has produced many videos of people breaking a car’s window if they see a dog inside. Temperatures inside a car can get very high within a matter of minutes, which can lead to serious issues or potential death.
Dogs regulate their temperature by panting, so in hot weather with no access to water, they can develop heatstroke quickly. Heatstroke in dogs is a serious medical emergency, which could not only seriously injure your pet’s chances of survival, but can also end in an expensive vet bill.
How dogs respond to heat
Out in the wild, animals have adapted to heat in the most amazing ways. Kangaroos lick their forearms to lower their body temperature, while aquatic creatures have learned to head for the shady parts of their underwater environments.
Dogs rely on their owners to provide an environment that’s suited to their needs. If your yard doesn’t provide any shade or if your dog doesn’t have access to drinking water, they’ll suffer the effects of the heat quite quickly, and with serious consequences.
A fact you may not know is our canine friends sweat from their paw pads. The delicate pads on the undersides of their feet can easily become burned while walking on hot concrete, and this can also damage their sweat glands. Hosing down any concrete in your yard regularly will help cool the area down and provide a safer surface for your dog to walk on.
Heatstroke is a condition all dog owners should look out for. Symptoms such as exhaustion, losing consciousness, confusion, dizziness, and rapid breathing or panting are all signs your dog is suffering from heatstroke and you need to get into action now to assist your pet. Some dogs are more prone to developing the condition, such as elderly dogs, dogs with thick fur, or overweight dogs. If your pet falls into these categories, extra attention should be paid to your canine during the summer months.
How to treat heatstroke in dogs
If your dog is visibly uncomfortable, drooling, has red gums or diarrhea during high temperatures, your dog is almost certainly suffering from heatstroke. There are a few steps you can take at home to assist your pet, such as putting them into a bath of cool water to lower their temperature quickly and letting your dog drink as much water as they want to.
The next step is to get in touch with your vet, who’ll be able to walk you through care steps until you’re able to get the dog to the vet practice. The extent of your pet’s stay in the hospital will depend on how affected they were by the temperatures.
Prevention is always better than cure, and by keeping your dog within a healthy weight range, letting elderly dogs inside, and making sure athletic dogs take plenty of shade breaks and drink plenty of water will help fight against developing heatstroke.
The good news is, the signs and symptoms of this condition are easy to spot, so attentive dog owners will be able to catch the symptoms early.
Final reminders for caring for your dog in hot weather
When the sun starts to scorch, keep your pup inside, especially if you have fans and air conditioning to cool them down. Tiled areas in your house can also be wetted or covered in damp towels for your canine to lay down and cool off.
Your dog is a member of your family and being a responsible pet owner is your duty to them. Just as you would never leave your children in a hot car, so too would you never do this to your dog, or any animal for that matter. Their survival is your responsibility, and the payment is loyalty, friendship and a place in your heart forever.