Caring for Dogs in Warm Weather

Caring for Dogs in Warm Weather

Steps to Keep Your Dog Cool During the Summer Months

As temperatures rise, it’s essential to take extra care to ensure your furry friend stays comfortable and safe. Here are some effective steps to help your dog stay cool during the summer months:

  1. Provide Plenty of Water: Always have fresh water available for your dog, both indoors and outdoors.
  2. Create Shade: Ensure your dog has access to shaded areas, whether in your yard or on walks.
  3. Avoid Midday Heat: Walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  4. Use Cooling Mats or Vests: Consider using cooling products designed for dogs to help regulate their body temperature.
  5. Limit Exercise: Reduce the intensity and duration of exercise during hot weather.
  6. Never Leave Your Dog in a Vehicle: Cars can quickly become dangerously hot, even with windows cracked open.

Walking Your Dog in Hot Weather

Why is Overheating Dangerous for Dogs?

Overheating can lead to severe health issues for dogs, including heatstroke, which can be fatal. Dogs don’t sweat like humans do; they cool down primarily through panting and releasing heat through their paws. When these methods are insufficient, their body temperature can rise to dangerous levels.

How Hot is Too Hot for Dogs?

If the temperature outside is above 75°F (24°C), it’s essential to take precautions. Surfaces like asphalt can become extremely hot and burn your dog’s paws. Always test the pavement with your hand; if it’s too hot for you to hold your hand on it for a few seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.

What Should I Do if My Dog Gets Too Hot?

If you suspect your dog is overheating:

  • Move them to a shaded or air-conditioned area immediately.
  • Offer small amounts of cool (not cold) water.
  • Wet their fur with cool water.
  • Use a fan to help cool them down.
  • Contact your veterinarian for further advice.

Signs to Look For

Signs of Burned Pads

  • Limping or refusing to walk
  • Licking or chewing at their feet
  • Darkened or discolored pads
  • Blisters or redness on the pads

Signs of Heatstroke

  • Heavy or continuous panting, even after stopping exercise
  • “Smiling” appearance due to panting with corners of mouth pulled up
  • Tongue hanging out more than usual
  • Squinty eyes
  • Difficulty breathing or changes in breathing pattern
  • Bright pink/red gums and lips
  • Lethargy, drowsiness, stiffness, or unwillingness to move
  • Seeking shade persistently
  • Wobbly or uncoordinated movements
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

The most common symptoms of heatstroke are changes in breathing (excessive panting or labored breathing) and lethargy or drowsiness. If you observe any of these signs, take immediate action to cool your dog down and seek veterinary assistance.

Never Leave Your Dog in a Vehicle in Warm Weather

A parked car can quickly reach lethal temperatures, even with windows slightly open. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, take action immediately:

What to Do if You See a Dog in Distress in a Hot Car

  • In England and Wales: Call 999 and ask for the police.
  • In Scotland: Call 999 and ask for the police, and/or call the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) on 0300 099 9999.
  • In Ireland: Take down the registration number and contact An Garda Síochána on 112 or 999, or the National Animal Helpline on 0818 515 515. Callers from outside the Republic of Ireland should use +353 43 33 25035.
  • In Northern Ireland: Call your regional Animal Welfare Officer or the PSNI on 999. Visit the website for your regional Animal Welfare Officer contact numbers.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable during the hot summer months.



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