Hot Weather Health Tips
All around our town, the signs are posted and clear, do not leave pets in hot cars. Yet, almost daily, we learn of another poor pup left panting with his or her person nowhere in sight. As we enter the dog days of summer and the temperatures continue to rise, we thought we’d reiterate the importance of keeping your pet healthy in hot weather.
Never leave your pet alone in a car on a warm day. We cannot stress this enough. Even on a mild 70oF day, temperatures inside a car can reach over 100oF in less than 30 minutes (veterinaryclinic.com). And when it is hot out, parking in the shade or cracking the windows won’t keep your pet cool. Dogs do not have sweat glands to help regulate their body temperatures so they feel the heat even more than people and will suffocate at these temperatures. According to PETA, it only takes 15 minutes for a dog to suffer the deadly effects of heatstroke. As much as we love having our pets with us, leave your furry friend safely at home on warm days.
If you happen upon a distressed dog alone in a car, PETA recommends the following strategies: record details of the car and the license plate number, attempt to locate the owner in a nearby establishment, and call local authorities or animal control. Stay by the pup until help arrives.
Limit Your Pet’s Outdoor Exercise on Hot Days: Exercise is great for both you and your pet, physically and mentally. But when the heat and humidity rise, think twice before taking your dog out for a run or long walk. Without sweat glands, dogs can overheat easily with too much exertion. And when the air is hot, the pavement will be even hotter so be careful to avoid pad burns. If you want to exercise outdoors, stick to the cooler parts of the day, check the pavement first or stay on natural grass or dirt, and keep it short and gentle. Always keep water with you and give your pup a break to rehydrate every 15 minutes (petmd). On those too hot to go out days, get your workout in by playing inside with air-conditioning or taking your pet to a doggie play place.
If you do choose to exercise your dog outdoors in the heat, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of overheating: stopping or seeking shade, walking closer to you, excessive panting, yawning, or blinking, or changes in behavior (petmd). If you suspect your dog has overheated, get to your veterinarian right away.
Check the pavement before hitting the pavement. If you have ever walked barefoot across a sidewalk or driveway on a hot day, you understand how quickly and easily the blistering ground can burn your feet. Despite being covered with tough pads, your dog’s feet will feel the heat of the pavement just as much (rover.com). To avoid painful burns on your pet’s paw pads, follow the Vetsnow seven second rule: place the back of your hand on the surface that your pet will walk on. If its too hot to keep your hand in place without feeling a burn, it is too hot for your pet’s paw pads. Even if you’ve determined that it is safe to walk, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of pad burns: stopping the walk, limping, pads that are an unusual color, licking or biting feet more than usual, blisters on the pads, or peeling pads (rover.com). If your dog exhibits any of these signs, seek veterinary treatment right away.
Follow the tips above and enjoy safe summer fun with your furry best friend.