Tips on how to keep your pet cool this summer
Tips on how to keep your pet cool and comfortable in the hotter weather:
Never leave your dog in the car.
Keep your house cool.
Watch when you exercise. Limit when and how much you do when it's hot and humid. Take walks in the cooler part of the day, in the early morning and evening hours.
Check the pavement. Before you head out for a walk, touch the pavement. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paw pads.
Offer plenty of water and shade.
Make cool treats. Help your canine chill from the inside out. For puppy popsicles, make ice cubes with tasty treats inside. Or fill and freeze a chew toy to make a chilly snack.
Keep an eye on the humidity. Stay inside, and limit exercise, too.
Take care of at-risk dogs. Be watchful if you have a snub-nosed pet like a pug or bulldog. Their smaller airways make it harder for them to release heat when they pant. It's also easy for old and overweight dogs, or those with heart and breathing problems, to get heatstroke.
Groom your pet. If your dog has long hair, get rid of any mats and tangles. The extra fur that keeps him warm in winter may also keep him cool in summer.
Visit your vet. Keep his shots up to date, especially in summer.
Watch for signs of overheating. Your dog can't tell you when he doesn't feel well, so keep an eye out for heatstroke, which can have these symptoms:
- Heavy panting
- Heavy drooling
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dark or red gums and tongue
If you see any of these signs then get him to a vet immediately.
What to do if your dog is suffering from heatstroke:
For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
- Immediately move your dog to a cooler area, either indoors where there is air conditioning or in the shade under a fan.
- Use a rectal thermometer to check his temperature. Heat exhaustion typically occurs when a dog's temperature falls between 103 and 106 degrees. A temperature above 106 places him at risk for heat stroke. If he's in the danger zone, call your veterinarian.
- If you're near a body of fresh water, such as a lake or a baby pool, let your dog take a dip to cool down. Otherwise, you can use cool, wet cloths or towels to help him out. Place your cool wet cloths on his neck, armpits, and between his hind legs, and you can also gently wet his ears and paw pads with cool water.
- If he's conscious and willing to drink, give him cool, fresh water. Don't force it, however, as it may end up in his lungs. If he can't or won't drink, or can't keep water down, wet his tongue with water instead. Don't feed him ice cubes, which could cause his temperature to drop too quickly, leading to shock.
Once the dog is cool, take him/her to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.