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🌅Handling the Heat: 5 Dog Care Tips for Hot Weather

Just because you’re comfortable doesn’t mean it’s safe for your pet🐕

Summer’s rising temperatures can be dangerous for dogs and humans alike. It’s important to stay mindful in extreme weather, as just a few minutes in the wrong environment can be disastrous for our pets. However, with proper precautions and care, you can see to it that your dog has fun in the sun, rather than suffering from heat exhaustion. Here are our top tips for caring for dogs when the temperature rises.

1. Never leave your dog unattended in your car

It may seem safe to leave your pet in your car for just a few minutes, but it is always dangerous. Cracking the windows won’t prevent them from suffering heat exhaustion that can quickly lead to death. On a 70-degree day, the interior of a car can heat up to 99 degrees in only 20 minutes. On an 80-degree day, it will be 109 degrees. Leaving the air conditioner running when you are out of the car is not safe for your pet, either, as the system may fail. It may seem inconvenient, but it is a small preventative measure that can save your pet’s life.

2. Make sure your pets have access to plenty of water

Dogs only have sweat glands on the pads of their feet and regulate their body temperature by resting, panting, and drinking water. When it is hot outside, make sure your pets have access to plenty of water to stay hydrated and cool down. If you’re traveling, make sure you keep water with you and a portable bowl. Pets can become dehydrated quickly, and can’t let you know when they’re thirsty. Make sure you take care of their needs by always having water available to them.

3. Don’t take your dog outside for prolonged periods of time

Because dogs can’t sweat, they are more sensitive to high temperatures than humans. They will suffer more quickly in the heat than you will. Please don’t use your own comfort level as the gauge for how long you keep your dog outside. If you take them into your yard in hot weather, make sure they have access to shady areas and lots of water.

4. Adjust walk times to avoid peak temperatures.

When it’s hot, adjust your dog’s walk times to avoid midday hours, when it’s hottest. If possible, walk your dog early in the morning, and in the evening, when the sun has started to go down. Avoid hikes and other walking paths that require more strenuous activity. Pay attention to your dog’s response to the weather. If they appear to be uncomfortable, take them inside. Keep them indoors when it is extremely hot, with brief potty breaks.

Also, do not walk your dog on asphalt, artificial turf, sand, metal, or concrete when the temperature is hot. If the thermometer hits 85 degrees Fahrenheit and stays there, it’s too hot for your dog’s bare paws to be walking on these materials. To detect if something is too hot for your dog to walk on, put your hand on the ground for ten seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand to stay there comfortably, it’s too hot for your pet.

5. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Overheating in dogs can range from mild heat exhaustion to severe heatstroke. If you see your dog panting excessively, appearing weak, vomiting, collapsing, or having bloody diarrhea in hot weather, they are likely suffering from overheating. If you witness your dog suffering from any of these symptoms, please call your vet immediately.

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