We all know the safety concerns of summer heat for pets, and take care to ensure they stay cool. Exercising in early morning or evening with plenty of breaks, leaving them home on midday car errands, forgoing the weight-bearing backpacks on walks, and being especially careful with overweight and short-nosed dogs are all part of our routine, right?
It’s so important to know when your dog is more than just a little hot. Some of the early warning signs of heatstroke in dogs that you need to pay attention to may not look too alarming at first: heavy panting, hyperventilating, heavy salivation, and dark red gums & tongue. This is the time you should get your dog in the shade (even better if there’s a fan or air conditioning available) and offer them small drinks of cool water so they can gradually cool themselves down.
It’s essential that in your concern for your dog you don’t try to cool them too quickly with ice or ice water. Simply wet them with moderately cool water (especially the feet and inner thighs) and try to have them walk a bit to circulate the cooling blood. Covering them with wet towels interferes with the cooling process.
If these early signs are ignored it can be deadly. The progressive signs of life-threatening heatstroke include: dry and pale gums, thick saliva, shallow breathing, vomiting, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Your dog should be rushed to the vet if these more serious signs are seen; start the cooling process as you go. Severe overheating can cause damage even when you think you’ve got them safely cooled down, so be sure to have your dog seen by a vet if severe symptoms occur. A dog’s normal resting temperature is 100.5 – 102.05 F. Above 104 and they’re in danger, above 106 and permanent damage may be done.
Some of us are able to get our dogs in the water for summer fun. Safety is still important, especially if you’re boating or swimming your dog in rivers or oceans. Life jackets for dogs are a must for boating just as they are for kids, and swimming in currents and tides can wear out even the most eager dog. The Ruff Wear life jackets we carry are so well made they last for years. Here’s a video describing the features that make the Ruff Wear Float Coat our favorite.
At Dexter’s we also carry a variety of products to make it easier for you to carry water for your dog. We have everything from travel bowls for your car to carry-along bottle and bowls combos so you and your dog can share water on your outing and both stay cool.
Have a safe and fun summer with your pet!