Across the U.S., millions of people are struggling to find relief as summer temperatures soar. But while extreme heat places humans at risk, record temperatures also present extra dangers for our furry friends. Dogs can’t sweat or shed their fur coats, so hot weather puts dogs at risk for heatstroke and other dangerous health issues.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your dog during a heatwave. Follow these hot weather safety tips to help your dog stay cool this summer.
9. Provide Lots Of Water
Keeping your dog hydrated keeps his systems working properly. Not only does lacking water interfere with your pet’s digestion, circulation, and waste elimination, dehydration makes it more difficult for dogs to control their body temperature. If your dog has a darker-colored coat or is overweight, he’s also more likely to become dehydrated. Prevent dehydration by keeping your dog’s water bowl filled with fresh, cool water at all times.
8. Know Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
Dogs can’t sweat, so they pant to cool their bodies. But if your dog is drooling or panting heavily, he’s becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can also cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and other dangerous warning signs. Without your intervention, your dog could suffer heatstroke, along with damage to his kidneys or heart. Take immediate steps to cool your dog slowly. Avoid using ice baths, which will cause shivering, raising your pup’s core temperature even more. According to AKC, dehydrated dogs may display these common warning signs:
Warning Signs of Canine Dehydration
7. Clean Water Bowls Daily
A dirty water bowl is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make your pet sick. The bacteria can also give the water a foul taste so your pet doesn’t drink it, which is exactly the opposite of what dog should be doing in hot weather. Empty your pet’s water bowl daily, thoroughly clean it with soap and water, and then refill it again with fresh water to encourage your dog to drink up.
6. Choose Weighted Water Bowls
If your dog stays home when you’re at work, it’s essential she has water available all the time. If her water bowl tips over and spills, it could be hours before someone comes home to refill it. Choose weighted food and water bowls that have a wide base so they do not tip. Provide water in several locations in case a door closes.
5. Provide Water Away From Home
Your dog also gets thirsty when outdoors, running errands, or on a road trip. Bring a collapsible bowl that takes little space to store and a bottle of water. Fill the bowl and let him drink. Don’t forget your dog also needs potty breaks.
4. Don’t Leave Dogs In Cars
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Never, ever, ever leave dogs alone in hot cars – not even if the window’s rolled down a crack or you’re parked in the shade. Even with these precautions, car temperatures quickly rise to dangerous degrees, subjecting your furry friend to heatstroke–or worse. Despite many terrifying real-life examples, dog owners continue to make this deadly mistake.
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3. Protect Sensitive Paws
On extremely hot days, dehydration isn’t your dog’s only problem. Hot asphalt can also burn the sensitive pads of your dog’s paws. Go for walks early in the day before the sun has a chance to heat the asphalt, or wait until temperatures fall in the evening. If you must walk when it is hot outside, provide doggy boots or dog shoes that protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement.
2. Provide a Cool Place to Rest
When temperatures soar, your dog needs a cool place to rest. Keep him inside your air-conditioned home where temperatures are cooler. If air conditioning isn’t available, give him a wet towel or cooling pad to lay on. Another method of cooling is to place a pan of ice behind a fan so the cool air blows over the pet.
1. Hit The Beach
Heatwaves are an excellent reason to take your dog to the beach. Dogs can cool off while they jump in the waves, and swimming is a great way to get exercise on hot days — with a dog life jacket, of course! If you don’t live near a lake or a beach, let your pup play in the kiddie pool or sprinkler.
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