With the summer season in full swing, it is important to take certain measures to keep your dog from overheating. When you are walking your dog, playing fetch, or having fun at the dog park this summer, it is important to be prepared to keep your dog cool.
While your dog can efficiently cool itself by panting, it can become ineffective in extreme heat. Your dog can become overheated within minutes. This can lead to issues such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, brain damage, kidney failure, and death.
Tips for Walking and Playing with Your Pet in the Heat
The golden rule for determining if the temperature is appropriate for your pet, “if it is too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.” This will depend on how acclimated your pet is to the heat, their health, and their activity level. You should also keep an eye on the humidity before venturing outside. In some cases, a lower temperature with higher humidity can be more dangerous to your pet.
- Keep your pet hydrated.
- Limit their outdoor activities such as walks or fetch on extremely hot or humid days (unless it is swimming or letting them run through the sprinkler.)
- Never leave them in the car alone in hot temperatures.
Signs of Overheating in Dogs
- Disorientation, weakness, or stumbling
- Excessive panting
- Shortness of breath
- Large tongue and open mouth, wide enough to see all of their teeth.
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive thirst
If you notice one or more of these signs, stop your dog’s activity and move them to a cooler area or an area with shade, ideally indoors with air condition or a fan. Provide them with water to drink and, if available, place a fan on your pet or hose them down with cool water to help lower their body temperature. You can also use wet cloths or towels placed on your pet’s armpits, neck, and behind the hind legs.
You will want to take your dog to the vet to be treated for overheating. It is helpful to call ahead to allow your veterinarian to prepare for your dog’s treatment. If your dog is unconscious, take them to the vet or animal ER immediately.