Prevent Overheating in Dogs
Overheating in pets can be seriously dangerous for their health, and it may even be life-threatening. Blistering temperatures can quickly put your pet in danger, so it’s important to keep your pet’s safety at the front of your mind. Reduce your pet’s chances of heatstroke and dehydration by putting in the effort to keep them cool. Check out these simple tips from our Chandler veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable and summer long.
Know the Warning Signs
Some symptoms of overheating and dehydration in pets are more obvious than others. Pets do not sweat like humans; they actually expel heat through panting. This action keeps them cool and comfortable, but it also means that they get exhausted and dehydrated fairly quickly. Excessive panting and lethargy are one of the first signs of dehydration and overheating. Difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, dry gums, increased salivation, rapid pulse, diarrhea, and vomiting are all signs of extreme overheating. These symptoms could mean that your pet’s life is in danger and you should call our Chandler veterinarian right away. Dogs with heavy fur coats and short snouts will become dehydrated and overheated faster than other breeds. Every animal is unique, so talk to our team about your pet’s unique risk for overheating.
Never Leave Your Pet in the Car
Temperatures inside your car can reach dangerous levels in minutes. Never leave your pet in the car, even for a few moments. Leaving the air conditioning on is not enough, and your pet can still be at risk for overheating. It is also possible that your windows may be broken by bystanders who may believe your pet is overheating in the car. If you are unable to bring your pet with you into a building, you should leave them at home. Cars are one of the most dangerous places for pets year-round, but especially during the summer months. In many states, leaving your pet in the car is punishable by law and could lead to hefty fines or even jail time. In Arizona, leaving your pet in a hot car intentionally or unintentionally could lead to a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail for animal cruelty. Protect your pet by either leaving them at home or taking them with you outside of the car.
Go Outside at Appropriate Times
The best time to bring your dog outside is before the sun comes up or after it starts to set. Choosing to walk your dog before the sun reaches its highest point will protect your pet from overheating. These hours are the safest for your pet because the daily temperature will be at its lowest and the ground will not be as hot. If you do need to bring your dog outside during the hotter hours of the day, make sure you stay in grassy areas and try to keep outdoor activities to only a few minutes. Not only will the sun overheat your dog, but the sun may also cause damage to their skin. Always provide your pet with plenty of shade, water, and air conditioning if possible.
Be Mindful of Their Paws
Your pet’s paws can easily get burned by walking on hot asphalt or sand. Protect the pads of your pet’s paws by taking some simple precautions. Try to walk before the sun comes up or after it starts to set. You should also make an effort to walk your dog in grassy areas instead of streets and sidewalks. If you have to walk your dog on hot asphalt, put some shoes on them to protect their paws. If the ground is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog! If your pet’s paws do get burnt, call our Chandler vet right away. Bandages and antibiotics may be necessary to prevent further injury or infection.
Find Ways to Keep Your Pet Cool
There are so many ways to try and keep your pet cool during the summer. Always provide your pet with fresh water at home and when you’re out. Use ice cubes whenever possible and make your pet some frozen treats. Watermelon ice cubes, frozen banana bites, plain frozen yogurt, peanut butter ice cubes, and other dog-friendly treats can help to keep your pet happy and cool. If possible, leave the air conditioning on for your pet whenever you leave them home, and try to keep blinds closed during the hot hours of the day. If you bring your pet outside with you, try to stay in areas that are shady and cool. On humid days, it would be better for your pet to stay home. Humidity can make it difficult for your pet to breathe and regulate their temperature, so just play with your dog indoors.
Stay On Top of Grooming
Some pets require additional grooming services during the summer months. Never shave your pet to try and keep them cool, because you may be doing more harm than good. Completely shaving your pet can leave them vulnerable to UV rays and sun damage. While haircuts can help to lighten a pet’s weight, they do not need to be bald. Your pet’s coat actually helps to regulate their temperature in the hot weather, and it protects them from the sun. A simple trim at the beginning of the summer may be enough to keep your pet comfortable during the hot weather. Ask our team for recommendations on grooming services that would be appropriate for your pet’s coat. Some pets may not require changes to their coat or additional grooming services to accommodate the weather.
If you believe your pet is experiencing a heat stroke or extreme dehydration, contact our Chandler veterinarian right away. Heat stroke can lead to major organ damage or even death, so be proactive to keep your pet comfortable. For more information about how to keep your pet comfortable and safe in the summer months, call our Chandler veterinarian to schedule an appointment.