This time of year, the sun and heat can present some challenges for our canine friends. It is up to us, as responsible and loving dog owners, to stay informed about the precautions we need take to ensure their wellbeing in the hot summer heat. And sometimes it means doing what’s right to protect your dog’s health and having to endure ‘sad-dog-eyes’ because you need to leave them home where it’s cool.
Water – It is always important to keep your dog well hydrated but even more so when the temperatures soar. Make sure to regularly replenish your dog’s water bowl and ensure they have constant access. If you are going out with your dog be sure to bring fresh clean water and a bowl for them to drink from.
Shade – If possible you should try to keep your dog indoors as much as possible during the hot weather. However, there will obviously be times your dog needs to go outside to relieve themselves, try and limit their sun exposure with shaded areas and limit the time spent in any direct sun.
Exercise/Activities – Only take your dog out during the cooler times of the day, early mornings and evenings, but overall use your judgement about the heat before taking them out at all. Dogs are devoted and loyal, they will aim to please you and go about their normal activities as usual, and potentially to their own detriment if you don’t monitor them. If you try running or cycling with them they may collapse before giving up. Remember that missing one walk or run won’t hurt them, but that same walk or run in the blistering sun could be very dangerous, or even fatal.
Pavement & Hot Surfaces – Pavement, sand and other surfaces can get VERY hot in the summer sun, which can burn and blister your dog’s paws. Make sure you test the surface before walking your dog – to test the surface heat apply contact to the surface with your own skin and hold it there for about seven seconds to determine if it’s safe to walk your dog. If it is too hot for you to maintain contact it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
Parked Cars – When the weather is hot you should NEVER leave your dog in a parked car. Even if it is just for a short period of time, it can have life threatening ramifications for your four-legged friend as it can only take minutes for heatstroke to set in. They may not like being left home when you go out to do some shopping, but you can sleep easy knowing you are doing what is best for them.
Signs of Heatstroke – Always monitor your dog for signs of heatstroke, even if you are taking the right precautions to prevent it. Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting and through their paws and nose. Signs of heatstroke in a dog may include (but are not limited too), excessive panting, excessive drooling, loss of energy, disorientation and vomiting Heatstroke can be fatal for dogs and preventative measures and monitoring are the best things you can do to stop it from happening.
If you think your dog is over-heating, or may be experiencing heatstroke, immediately take them to some shade or a cool location and give them water. It can be a good idea to wet their coat with cool water if you have enough available. Contact your vet straightaway.