1. Avoid leaving your dog outside. Even if your dog has water and shade, leaving your dog exposed to high heat and humidity increases his risk for heat stroke.
2. Be sure to exercise your dog in the early morning and evening on hot days. Dogs are only able to release heat from their body through panting and their foot pads, so exercising them in the heat of the day is not recommended. This is especially true of flat faced breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs. Special care should be taken to avoid the heat. Avoid having your dog walk on hot sidewalks as he can easily burn his paws.
3. Access to Water. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh cool water. Be aware that you will need to refill his bowl more often in the summer heat. Put ice cubes in her drinking water or make her a doggy popsicle by filling her KONG with yogurt and freezing it. Pick up Sweet Spots frozen dog treats when you visit Full Circle Veterinarians. Yummie!
4. To shave or not to shave? Keep your dog well groomed, but avoid shaving him down to the skin as this will predispose him to sunburn. Hair actually helps to dissipate the heat and prevents sunburn. If you have a breed with thin hair, is hairless, or has pink skin consider using a pet safe sunscreen.
5. Never leave your dog in the car unattended! Even if you are only gone for a few minutes and the windows are open, the temperature inside a car can quickly skyrocket. A study by San Francisco State University showed that on an average summer day the temperature rose 10 degrees per 10 minutes, which puts your pet at risk. Pets left alone in hot cars are at risk of developing heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even brain damage.
6. Cooling down your furry friend: Offer several options for cooling your dog down. A well placed fan, wet towel placed on the floor, or access to a doggy pool are all good options.
7. Travelling with your dog: When travelling with your dog in the car, make sure he is well secured, either in a crate or with a dog seat belt. Sun shades or tinted windows are good ideas, as is placing an ice pack or cool towel for your dog to lie on. Most airlines will not ship animals during the summer months, check with your specific airline for more details.
8. Should dogs go swimming? Swimming is an excellent source of exercise for your pet in summer, but it can also be dangerous. Make sure to always supervise your pet when it’s near water . If you have a pool, teach him where the stairs are and how to use them. Get him used to the water slowly, make sure it’s a positive experience, and never throw him in. Child safe pool fences are not simply good for kids!
9. Should I bring her to the fireworks and festivals? Summertime brings festivities, events which can be crowded and stressful for your dog. Help keep your dog calm and stress free by leaving her at home, rather than bringing her with you. Many dogs also have phobias of loud noises, so fireworks can be a source of anxiety. If your pet has severe thunderstorm phobias contact your vet for options on how to manage this issue.
10. Know the signs of heat stroke. Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. If you see any of these signs try to cool your dog down with a cold towel, or place an ice pack wrapped in a towel next to the dog. Transport your dog to the vet ASAP for treatment, as these signs can quickly progress and can become life threatening.
By Miranda Wimbush, RVT
Participate in the Full Circle of Veterinary Care!
Our dynamic, passionate and dedicated customer care team wants you to experience inspired, integrated veterinary health care. Our broadly educated veterinarians, technologists and clerical support staff meld conventional veterinary medicine and surgery with diverse special interest fields including: nutrition (commercial and home prepared feeding plans), diagnostic ultrasound, acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, canine rehabilitation, feline focused medicine and more. Take the first step and join us online at www.fullcirclevet.ca to learn more and to link to our Facebook page.