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Beat the Heat: Taking Care of Your Dog in the Summer

cane bay summerville dog on beachThe summer is a great time to play more with your pet. The kids are out of school and often times, life is more relaxed. However, summer months bring extra heat, and it is crucial to look out for your dog’s health by preventing dehydration and overheating. Taking care of your dog in the summer is not difficult, but must receive extreme details, since your pup cannot communicate.

Just the other week, my family was playing outside with our precious mini schnauzer, Duncan. After awhile, they noticed his tongue turned a deep pink color. They called the vet and found out that they needed to cool him down immediately; he was overheated.

Fortunately, he did not need special medical attention, but they cooled him down with shade, some cold drinking water and a cool, damp rag.

The best way to protect your dog or pet from overheating and dehydration this summer is to prevent it. Here are a few tips to help you and your pet beat the heat this summer and stay happy and healthy.

Limit Time Outside

If the temperature is going to be 90+ degrees, consider leaving your pup inside in the air conditioning. A few minutes of outside time for potty breaks and exercise are still important, so consider taking your dog for his walk in the morning or evening. Avoid exercising him in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest. Paws are sensitive to hot asphalt, so have your dog walk on the grass if possible.

Provide Plenty Of Water And Shade

If your dog is outside, make sure he always has water and encourage him to drink it. He may not always show an interest in it, but its important to make sure he is drinking often and staying hydrated. You can even add ice cubes to keep it cool. Finding relief from the heat under a shady tree is an ideal way to cool down, because it provides a break from the sun while still allowing airflow.

Avoid Ice Baths

An ice bath may sound like a great way to cool your pet from the heat. However, they actually do more harm than good. Ice cold water will constrict your dog’s blood vessels and actually make it harder for him to cool down. Instead of an ice bath, dampen a towel with cool water and wrap it around his body.

Never Leave Your Dog In The Car

If you take a quick trip to the grocery store and your dog can’t go inside with you, leave him at home. According to the Humane Society, if the temperature outside is 85 degrees, within 10 minutes the temperature inside the car can easily rise to 102 degrees with the windows open even just a little. In 16 states, it is illegal to leave a dog in an unattended car in extreme conditions that could cause physical injury or death. Protect your dog from the heat and keep him out of the car when you’re not there.

Take Your Dog’s Temperature

You can use a rectal thermometer to take your dog’s temperature. If it reaches above 104 degrees, you should take him to a veterinarian immediately to treat heat stroke. In the meantime, try cooling him down with a damp towel, some cold drinking water and shade.

Watch The Heat And Humidity

Humidity can be just as dangerous as the heat can to your precious pup. Dogs cool themselves down by panting, which helps get rid of moisture in their lungs. When it is very humid and the air is saturated, dogs cannot cool themselves down as easily, and their body temperature can climb to dangerous heights. Make sure to keep an eye on your dog and his temperature during particularly hot or humid days.

The Humane Society notes that some added warning signs that indicate your dog needs a relief from the heat and maybe extra medical attention are lethargy, trouble breathing, glazed over eyes, seizures, a rapid heartbeat or a red or purple tongue.

Make sure to beat the heat this summer by staying cool and hydrated.

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