By Dr. Chris Pitts, RVT, of Broadway Animal Hospital
Dogs love summer fun just as much as we do. But being trapped in those fur coats without the ability to sweat can prove troublesome in the hotter months. To take away the worry of overheating your furbaby, here are a few tips.
Make sure your dog always has access to shade that is at least as big as he is. A good shade tree in the back yard, or a well-placed awning can do the trick. Keeping the large water bowl full of water and in the shade gives the added bonus of access to a cool drink.
And don't get fooled by those quick trips into the store; you know the ones, where your dog begs you to take him along, only to have you leave him in the car thinking you did the right thing by cracking the windows? Seriously, leave the dog at home under his shade tree with his bowl of water.
Love taking your dog for a stroll in those warm breezes? Do it, just not in the middle of the day on asphalt. An early morning or evening walk is a better idea. The dog won't overheat and the pads won't literally burn off his paws.
And last, but not least, if you do take your dog out for a hike or a run, and he is panting to the point where his tongue is literally lolling out of his mouth, he needs a rest in a cool place, and a drink of water. If he does not stop panting and tongue lolling in about 10 minutes, then he needs to get cooled off more. You can get half of him wet down to the skin, and keep him in a cool place until he stops panting. Again, if this part of the process takes longer than 10 to 15 minutes, there is a chance that he may actually have heat stroke. This can be confirmed with a rectal temperature reading of 103.0 or higher. In these cases, a trip to the veterinarian is recommended.