Here come the dog days of summer! As the temperatures rise, it’s especially important to make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water and a cool place to hang out during the hot weather.
1. Never, ever, EVER leave your dog in your parked car. Ever.
“Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on,” warns the HSUS.
“On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.”
Do your dog a favor and leave him at home while you run errands.
2. Skip heavy exercise.
Walk your dog in the early morning or early evening during the hot weather. Sidewalks and asphalt can get very hot, so walk your dog on the grass or have him wear booties.
“Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing,” the HSUS notes.
3. If your dog is panting hard, check his temperature.
“Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body,” Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, told the HSUS. “If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
If your dog’s temperature is higher than 104 degrees, take him to a veterinarian or animal emergency hospital right away, because it could be heat stroke.
Other symptoms to watch for include drooling, weakness, seizures, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
4. Don’t shave your dog.
While it’s fine to give your dog a haircut, the ASPCA says you should never completely shave off all his hair: “The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn.”
5. Keep insect repellents and citronella candles away from your dog.
“When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals,” warns the ASPCA. “Keep citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of pets’ reach as well.”
6. Supervise your dog around the pool.
Contrary to popular belief, some dogs are not natural swimmers. If you have a backyard swimming pool, be sure to teach your dog how to get out of it.
“Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset,” advises the ASPCA.
Photo credit: Gloria