Summer is upon us and so are the posts about breaking your neighbor’s car window if Fido is in there. Now, don’t get me wrong if Fido is in distress then, by all means, do what you need to do, but ask yourself honestly do you know what a dog in distress looks like? If the answer is no, then keep reading.
If you are a daily dog walker (yay, we need more owners like you!) you probably encounter concrete, sand, and asphalt at some part of the walk. During the summer these ground textures heat up at an alarming pace and can cause serious damage to your pet’s paws.
A good rule of thumb is to put the back of your hand or your foot on the ground that you plan on walking on and hold it there for 5 seconds. If you must pull away or if it burns you then it’s too hot for your pet.
The best method to avoid such problems is to walk early in the morning or late in the evening. If that is not possible, then booties and wax are the way to go. These items are sold at most pet stores and will protect your pet paws from the elements.
Hot Cars and Dogs
Thanks to social media, most of us have read about leaving dogs in a hot car, so I won’t insult your intelligence and state the obvious. What I will share are some tips on how to keep your pet cool if he or she so happen to be running errands with you on a warm day.
- Leave the car running and turn on the air conditioner.
- Crate the dog with a cooling pad.
- Park in the shade.
- Have fans that blow on the dog
- Provide water.
Now you can use a combination of the above to keep your dog cool while you’re away and they even have these cool little gadgets now that will send notifications to your phone if your car gets too hot. I will also state use your best judgement, for example: if I have a flat-nose breed then I’m obviously going to leave my AC running due to the fact they have breathing problems, but if I have my Malinois out at a dog trial, then I’m going to apply steps 2-5 to keep him cool. I will add – if I’m applying tips 2 through 5, that my windows are down and my doors are open for maximum airflow.
Here’s a curveball for you, too much water is a bad thing as well. Hyponatremia is a condition caused by too much water intake and is commonly seen in dogs that are enjoying a nice dip in a pool, lake, etc.
Some of the signs you should watch out for include, but not limited to lethargy, bloat, loss of coordination, glazed eyes, and excessive salivation.
You can prevent water intoxication by supervising your dog’s play in the water and watching their water intake when finished playing. I personally pick up all water bowls for about an hour after their swimming fun.
*This is not the same as salt water toxicity. If you’re visiting the ocean, please bring an ample amount of fresh water for your dog to drink instead of salt water.
Signs of Heat Stroke
Familiarize yourself with the following symptoms to keep your pet safe in warmer weather. Heat strokes are deadly and can happen anywhere, catching the signs early on could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.
- Heavy panting
- Bright Red Tongue
- Red or Pale Gums
- Excessive Drooling
What you should do if your dog starts displaying these signs. Cool down the dog by moving them to the shade and applying room temperature water to their stomach, legs, and paws. If a fan is available, put a fan on them for air movement. If the dog is conscious allow them to drink water, you may add Pedialyte to the water to help with dehydration. Once your dog is starting to recover take him or her to vet to get vitals checked.
*If ever in doubt about your pet’s health please contact a veterinarian immediately.*
Without further ado, Happy Summer Break!