Summer is right around the corner and everyone is excited about spending time outside in the sunshine…even your faithful companion! Soaking up all that Vitamin D does come with some hazards that could impact the safety of your canine having fun in the sun. Below are some points to consider to
help protect your pup from over-heating this summer.
Shade isn’t enough to prevent heat stroke.
The most common misconception pet owners have is that as long as they provide lots of water and shade, their pet will be safe from heat stroke. Unfortunately, this is not true. Dogs commonly will experience heat stroke during the heat of summer while laying under a shade tree! How? Well, the issue is that dogs do not sweat! Humans are highly effective at cooling themselves through sweating through all skin surfaces. Dogs only sweat through their paw pads. This surface area isn’t enough to adequately cool their body during the hot days of summer. Panting is also a method of cooling themselves; however, this too isn’t enough to beat the heat.
Avoid peak sun times during the day.
Aim for early morning walks (6 a.m.-8 a.m.) and late evening strolls (8 p.m.-9 p.m.) as safer times to walk with your dog. By avoiding the peak heat times, you will be able to safely enjoy a walk without risking your pet’s health. Remember, pavement heats up quickly and your pup’s precious paw pads could suffer burns on hot summer day walks too!worst nightmare!
Keep track of the time you are outside with your pup.
When we’re having fun, we can easily forget how long we are outside! You should spend no longer than 10- 15 minutes outside with your dog during peak sun exposure times of the day. For geriatric and brachycephalic breeds (squishy face breeds) no longer than 5 minutes is recommended.
Provide lots of water for outdoor play dates.
Baby pools and sprinklers serve dogs well during summer play dates! Not only will the water help keep them hydrated, romping in the water will help cool your playful pups too.
Taking these precautions will help keep your beloved pet safe from suffering heat stroke this summer. Signs of heat stroke are heavy panting, weakness, collapsing, and unable to stand. Should your pet display any of these signs, please seek emergency care with your local vet or PET ER.
Carrie Vigeant D.V.M., mother of 3 boys, entrepreneur, wife, and foodie.