Most people love the spring and summer weather. The sun is bright, the birds are singing, and the smell of flowers perfumes the air. However, the warmer months may not be as safe for our four-legged family members. So, how can you protect your dog when it is hot and humid?
When it is hot and humid outside, you should take your dog for walks during the cooler hours of the day. You should also be sure that your pup access to fresh water, and watch for signs of heat exhaustion. On very hot and humid days, keep them inside where it is air-conditioned. Never, under any circumstances, leave your dog alone in the car. You do not want to risk your dog’s health.
Read this article if you want to know eight tips to keep your dog safe when it is hot and humid.
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer
With warmer weather on the horizon, you can use these tips to keep your dog safe. The warmer months are often accompanied by heat and humidity, which can be dangerous for your pup if you do not exercise caution. The following are tips to keep your dog safe when it is hot and humid:
1) Take Walks During Cooler Hours
You should take your dog for a couple of good walks every day. Two 30 to 60 minute walks a day are what the experts say is ideal. The amount of time will generally depend on your pup’s age and overall health.
Walking your dog in the early morning hours and after dusk every day during the warmer months will help keep them safe. Heat builds up in the afternoon when the sun is highest in the sky. When it gets to about 3:00 pm, the sun is low enough in the sky to be hotter than at other times during the day. Avoid walking your dog during this time. Instead, stick to the early morning and evening hours.
2) Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Dogs tend to get dehydrated quickly, so having a portable water bottle with you to give your pup some fresh water is essential, especially during the warmer months. The PupFlask is an excellent example of a good-quality water bottle for your pup. You should always ensure your pup can access fresh water, whether inside or outside.
3) Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion happens when your canine’s body temperature becomes elevated, and they cannot control their body heat. It is important to remember that animals are more sensitive to heat than humans are. There are many signs of heat exhaustion in your dog you should watch for:
- Excessive panting – Your dog may have trouble breathing in the heat and humidity. Faster, heavier panting is a sign of heat exhaustion and an early warning sign of a heat stroke.
- Bright red gums – Your dog’s gums should be powdery pink in color. Bright red gums and tongue are indicative of heat exhaustion.
- Excessive drooling – Your dog may be drooling uncontrollably, causing thick saliva.
- Increased heart rate – You can feel your dog’s elevated heartbeat on the left side of their chest close to their front elbow joint.
- Low energy or weakness – If your dog has heat exhaustion, they may be tired and sleep more than normal or have difficulty standing or moving around.
- Dehydration – Signs of dehydration consist of recessed, dry eyes, dry nose, dry, sticky gums, and a decreased energy level.
- Fever – If your pup has a temperature of above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, they have a fever.
- Vomiting or diarrhea – Soft stool or stool with blood could be a sign of heat exhaustion.
Another sign of heat exhaustion is poor skin elasticity. You can check your dog’s skin elasticity by lightly pulling up the skin at the back of their neck. The skin should immediately return to its normal position; if not, they may be dehydrated.
4) Do Not Walk Your Dog on Hot Pavement
Heat rising from the asphalt or concrete can cause your dog to overheat, and the surface temperature of the pavement can burn their little paw pads. You can get special booties for your pup in case there is a situation in which they may need to walk briefly on the hot ground. QUMY dog shoes can come to the rescue, and they come in several different colors and sizes.
5) Keep Your Pup Inside on Very Humid Days
Keeping your dog inside on very hot and humid days may be best. The air conditioning will provide a haven for your pup and keep them cool. The hot temperatures are even more hazardous for dogs with heart problems and brachycephalic dogs like Bulldogs and Pugs.
Another issue to consider is that dogs cool themselves down by panting. However, on sweltering and unforgiving days, dogs take in the hot and humid air, which fails to cool them down and causes them to become overheated. Since dogs do not sweat, they have no other way to cool down.
6) Do Not Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car
This advice should be rephrased to say never leave your dog in the car, period. It does not matter whether it is hot or cold; it is unsafe. Leaving your dog in the car when it is hot and humid can cause heatstroke. The temperature in the vehicle is scorching hot, and it will reach dangerous levels quickly. It does not matter if you roll the windows down; never leave your canine companion in the car.
7) Trim, Do Not Shave Your Dog’s Hair
Your pup’s fur keeps them warm in colder weather and shields them from extreme heat, direct contact with the sun, and sunburn. In the summer, you can trim your dog’s hair instead of shaving it, which will help protect them from getting sunburnt. The layers of hair act as a barrier to block out the heat and protect the skin from UV rays.
8) Increase Indoor Exercise Time
You can decrease the time you exercise or play with your dogs outdoors and swap that with some fun playtime indoors. Try playing fetch with a soft toy, setting up an indoor obstacle course, or playing games. Give your pup the necessary exercise, but keep it inside for a short time on hot and humid days. Food puzzles like the KONG toy are another excellent way for them to expend their energy.
What to Do if Your Dog Has Heatstroke
If you believe your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke, you should:
- Remove your dog from the hot environment right away
- Do not use ice cold water or ice, as it will worsen the problem
- Apply cool water to your dog’s fur and skin
- Let them drink as much water as they can
Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency; you must immediately take your pup to the vet, preferably the emergency vet, to ensure they can recover properly.
There are many ways to keep your canine companion safe during the warmer summer months. In addition to following these tips, always be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion in your pup. If you suspect your dog suffers from heatstroke, immediately get them to the vet.
Do you have any additional questions regarding the dangers of heatstroke and your pup? Triangle Animal Clinic in Conroe, TX is here to help! Give us a call at (936) 756-3318 or make an appointment online today!