Keep Your Pets Cool in the Summer Heat

The dog days of summer are officially here – a time when even humans are panting, sweating, and will do anything (like lay down on cold tile) just to get a break from the heat. But if you think you’re suffering, just imagine having to walk on the sidewalk outside with no shoes! Your dogs have a hard time in the summer too, so it’s important to take a few precautions to keep them cool.

The Humane Society offers a few simple tips on keeping your pets cool this season:

  1. Never leave pets in a parked car – even if the car is running. Temperatures inside the car can rise rapidly, so it’s important to either leave your dogs at home or at a doggy daycare instead.
  2. Limit exercise on hot days. Try going out in the early morning or evening, and be especially careful if your pet has white-colored ears, as they are more susceptible to skin cancer. Keep in mind that asphalt can burn your pet’s paws, so have them walk on the grass.
  3. Provie shade and water. Bring a portable dog bowl to fill with cold water to keep your dog hydrated. Also, take breaks in the shade or inside often. You can also soak your pet in a wet body wrap to prevent overheating.
  4. Watch for signs of heatstroke. In dogs, signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness. If this happens, move them into shade or air condition immediately, apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest, and run cool water over them. Let them drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes and take them to a vet.

Summer is a great time to adopt a pet! If you are looking to provide a forever home for a special dog or cat, Corridor-based Operation Kindness is now open daily for in-person adoptions with no appointments necessary.

Shonyae Johnson, Animal Behavior Manager at Operation Kindness, shared these tips for keeping your dogs cool:

  • Signs that a dog is hot/overheating 

Dogs do not react to heat the same way humans do, so it can be hard to tell when they are overheating. The most obvious one is excessive drooling. Some of the more obvious signs of overheating include increased salivation, confusion, weakness, diarrhea, excessive panting, rapid breathing and vomiting.

  • Tips for how to keep dogs cool 

The best way to keep a dog cool is bringing water on any walks and possibly even give them a chance to splash around a fountain, lake, or any other safe body of water that they can be monitored in. You can also soak a wet towel for them to lay on when they’re outside or let them play in one of those plastic, shallow dog or kid pools. They also make cooling mats, which help bring your dogs body temperature back down with the use of their body pressure.

  • Tips for encouraging a dog to drink more water 

For pets that you worry aren’t drinking enough water, the easiest solution is to make water super accessible by placing more bowls around the house. Your dog may also love water flavored with beef broth or other, dog-safe tasty liquids. Also consider feeding your dog more wet food, which has a higher moisture content than dry food. If your dog refused to drink water out on walks, you may simply have the wrong water bottle and could benefit from trying out a new one. This technique can also be used inside the house; water bowls come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials that your dog may prefer. Pupsicles or iceblocks with treats can be a great option to get dogs to drink water. Some dogs prefer the movement of a water fountain.

  • Tips for *when* as in what time of day to walk your dog before the peak temps 

One of the best things to do is to adjust your walking schedule to times of day when the sun isn’t as hot, typically in the early mornings before 11 a.m. and later in the evening, after 4 p.m.

Helping your pets stay cool in the summer isn’t hard with the proper precautions! Enjoy these days,  with cooler weather just around the corner.

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