Hot Diggity Dog! As the summer months approach, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being and comfort of our furry companions. Dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to heat-related illnesses and discomfort during hot weather. Proper precautions must be taken to ensure their safety and prevent heat-related emergencies. The good news is all of it is 100% preventable and avoidable. This article aims to highlight the significance of keeping your dogs cool during summer and shed light on the potential dangers of hot pavement for our four-legged friends.
Here are some important summer tips:
1. Preventing Heatstroke:
Dogs are prone to heatstroke, a potentially fatal condition caused by overheating. The normal temperature for dogs is 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike humans, dogs cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature, making them more vulnerable to extreme heat. Heatstroke can lead to organ failure, brain damage, and even death. By keeping dogs cool, we can minimize the risk of heatstroke and ensure their well-being. Dogs sweat through their paw pads and tongue. The flat-faced dog breeds (French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus and many others) are very susceptible to overheating and heat stroke. Keep them very cool.
Dogs need constant access to fresh, cool water to stay hydrated during hot weather. Dehydration can quickly set in, leading to serious health issues. Providing an ample supply of water throughout the day is crucial. Additionally, consider using frozen treats or adding ice cubes to their water bowls to keep them cool and encourage hydration.
3. Shade and Ventilation:
Create a comfortable environment for your dogs by providing ample shade and proper ventilation. Keep them indoors during the hottest parts of the day and ensure that their living area is well-ventilated. If your dog stays outside, make sure they have access to a shaded area, such as a covered patio or a doghouse with good airflow.
4. Limit Outdoor Activities:
Engaging in excessive physical activities during scorching temperatures can put your dog at risk. Avoid prolonged walks or vigorous exercise during peak heat hours. Instead, plan outings for cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings. Adjust the duration and intensity of exercise according to your dog’s breed, age, and physical condition.
5. Cooling Accessories:
Various products are available to help keep dogs cool, such as cooling vests, bandanas, and mats. I have multiple Tik Tok videos reviewing some effective cooling accessoriesyou’re your pets. These items use special cooling technologies or materials that can provide relief from heat. Consider investing in such accessories to help regulate your dog’s body temperature and make them more comfortable during hot weather.
One other topic that needs to be discussed is hot pavement and our dogs. Hot pavement can pose significant risks to your dog’s paw pads and overall well-being. Here’s why it’s essential to pay attention to this potential hazard:
1. Paw Pad Burns:
Pavement, asphalt, concrete, and sand can reach scorching temperatures during the summer. When dogs walk or stand on these surfaces, their sensitive paw pads can burn, leading to pain, discomfort, and even blisters. Severe burns may require veterinary attention. To prevent paw pad burns, avoid walking your dog on hot pavement, especially during peak heat hours.
2. Heat Retention:
Dogs release excess heat through their paw pads. Walking on hot pavement hinders this natural cooling process, as the pavement absorbs and retains heat. This can cause dogs to overheat more quickly, leading to exhaustion and heat-related illnesses. Opt for grassy areas or shaded paths for walks to ensure a safer and more comfortable experience for your canine companion.
3. Conduct the “Seven-Second Rule”:
Before venturing out on a walk, place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can’t hold it there for at least seven seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Find alternative walking times or locations, or consider using protective paw balms or booties to shield their paws from the hot surface.
4. Be Mindful of Reflective Surfaces:
Wishing you and your furkid a safe and wonderful summer season. Stay cool, stay smart and continue to be pawesome!
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA
Chief Veterinary Officer
MJH Life Sciences