Summer Heat Risks for Dogs
WALKING ON HOT PAVEMENT
Even on mild days, asphalt can get extremely hot in direct sunlight. Walking on hot pavement can burn your dog’s paw pads. Dr. Reynolds suggests putting your hand on the pavement to test the temperature. You can also pour water on blacktops. If it immediately steams up, it’s too hot.
“You can get little boots for your dogs’ paws, but you have to be careful with those, too,” says Dr. Reynolds. “If they get hot, they’ll cause a problem anyway,” since your dog’s paws are the only place he sweats.
DID YOU KNOW DOGS CAN SUNBURN?
According to Dr. Reynolds, “If you have a white or light-skinned dog, they’re way more susceptible to being sunburned, so you need to be careful,” when shaving your dog in the summer. He recommends either leaving a short amount of fur all over or “Shave his belly because it’s less likely to be exposed to the sun, and that’s where dogs dissipate a lot of their heat.”
AVOID HOT CARS
“Most of the heat-associated deaths for dogs in the United States are associated with them being in a car,” says Dr. Reynolds. “People don’t realize how quickly that can become a life-threatening situation.”
If you’re traveling with your dog this summer, remember to never leave him in the car. Even with the windows cracked and on milder days, temperatures can reach life threatening levels rapidly.
“According to the CDC, “Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131˚F to 172˚F when it’s 80˚F to 100˚F outside.””
KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE
Pay attention to your dog’s behavior any time you’re out and about together. Understanding his behavior and body language can help you recognize a problem before your dog suffers from heatstroke. Dr. Reynolds says to look for things like “Panting and how excited your dog is to keep going with the activity. If he suddenly starts holding back on a walk or run, that’s a clear sign to take a break and cool off.” Pay attention to his ears and tail, too. “If his ears are erect and he’s alert and looking around, great. If they start to droop, that’s worrisome. The same goes for the tail.” Heatstroke is a serious issue on hot days, especially for puppies, senior dogs and those in poor health.
1. Excessive panting and/or salivating
2. Obvious discomfort
3. Vomiting and diarrhea
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