Hot dog: 7 ways to keep pets safe in hot weather; what to do during heatstroke

Summertime is perfect for outdoor adventures with your dog, but experts warn that pets can quickly overheat, or burn their paws on hot asphalt while out on a walk. Here’s how to keep your pets safe in the summer.

Summertime is perfect for outdoor adventures with your dog, but experts warn that pets can quickly overheat, or burn their paws on hot asphalt while out on a walk. Here’s how to keep your pets safe in the summer.

Avoid hot asphalt

Avoid walking your dog on hot sidewalks with asphalt. Being close to the ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly and sensitive paws can burn. Try and walk your dog in the grass whenever possible.

Watch the humidity

“Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which can take heat away from their body,” said Dr. Barry Kellogg, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.”

Do not shave your dog

The layers of a dog’s coat helps protect it from overheating and sunburn. Brushing fluffy dogs more frequently can help with excessive heat.

Hydrate

If you are out and about with your pet, make sure you are prioritizing hydration. That means having a water bottle on you, taking breaks for drinks and take notice when your pet isn’t drinking enough, according to The Washington Post.

Fans are often not enough to keep dogs cool

Dogs respond to heat differently than humans -- for example, they sweat primarily through their feet. Fans are not as effective on dogs as they are on people. Cooling body wraps, mats and other products made for dogs can help. You can soak them in cool water as well. If your dog does well in a bath, a cooling soak can help.

Limit exercise on hot days

On very hot days, pets should be limited to walks in the early morning or evening. Dogs with white-colored ears are susceptible to skin cancer. Short-nosed dogs, like pugs, often have difficulty breathing.

Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle

Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, but it is also illegal in several states.

It can be difficult to know when an animal is having an emergency -- experts say the best way to know is to take your dog’s temperature. Any temperature over 104 degrees can put your dog at risk of heatstroke.

Heatstroke in dogs

Warning signs

Heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat and difficulty breathing are all signs the dog might be experiencing a heatstroke. If they excessively salivate, lose consciousness or their tongue turns a deep red or purple color, call a veterinarian immediately.

Animals at highest risk

Any animal that is very old or very young, underweight or not conditioned to exercise are susceptible to heatstroke. Some breeds, including boxers, pugs, Shih Tzus and dogs with short muzzles are exceptionally at risk.

How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke

Immediately move the dog to an air-conditioned area, and apply ice packs and cold towels to their head, neck and chest. Run cool water over them, but make sure the water is not too cold. Allow them to have small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian.

What to do if your pet is experiencing symptoms of heat stroke?

Do not force your pet to drink water or leave them alone. Also, do not use cold water to cool them down. These three things can cause your pet to go into shock. Instead, call your veterinarian, move your pet to a cooler place, place a cool and wet cloth on their bellies, ears, neck and paws, and then, direct a fan to blow at your pet.


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