With the extreme heat in the United States and Canada, it’s very important to maintain your dog safe. Just chiming in here to second this and to tell everyone to be very careful!
Most importantly, make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24 hours a day. There are many inexpensive and collapsible bowls (usually plastic or fabric) that you can take with you anywhere and refill at water fountains. If you are going to be out for a long period of time, freeze a bottle of water or bring ice cubes in a Tupperware container so that you will have cold water when you reach your destination.
Be aware that asphalt can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of dogs’ paws, and that your dog’s entire body is much closer to the ground than yours. In hot weather, walk your dog on the grass or dirt where is it cooler.
Safety in the Car
Under no circumstances should your dog be left in the car, even if you’re just running into the store to be paid for gas. The temperature in the car can rise quickly, even when the window is opened. Leaving your car idling with the air conditioner on being also not wise. Systems can fail, and a running car can be the subject of thieves.
Getting exercises in before sunrise and after sunset. Exercising during the day outdoors poses a risk of heat stroke. Burns on your dog’s paws and exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer in many breeds.
In cases where you must go outside, keep it limited, do not forget to keep to the shade and provide your dog plenty of fresh water. Avoid hot pavement, direct sun, and watch your dog for signs of heat stroke.
While many of us have air conditioning, there are those who do not. This heat wave has struck regions who may not have air conditioning as it has never been heated enough to warrant it.
Some ways to keep a dog cool indoors are:
Ice cubes in the water, cooling the body wraps, keep a fan at their level to ensure that the air, and keep blinds closed with room darkening curtains.
If the power is out or your home is getting too hot, check with your locality for pet-friendly emergency cooling centers.
Signs of Heat Stroke
Puppies especially are at a high risk of heating stroke. There are many factors which can make a dog more susceptible to heat exhaustion; physical condition, age, its coat type, breed and the climate it is most acclimated to. Very young and very old dogs are at the most risk. Brachycephalic dogs (those with short muzzles) such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are also at greater risk.
The signs of heat stroke are: Heavy panting, drooling, reddening gums and tongue, mental dullness and loss of consciousness.
If you feel that your dog is experiencing heat stroke, get to the emergency vet immediately.
A friend’s experience:
Walked a healthy, 11 mo GSD, a short distance, mostly in the shade, for about 30 min in what he felt was below a heat he had to worry about, though it’d be around 30c for a few days before. he didnot notice till then besides maybe he panted slightly more than usual after our walks . The minute after he left him at home with his owner she calls me. He completely zooms out on the floor, doesn’t react to anything.
Luckily he could return and together with advice from a veterinary over the phone we managed to lower his temperature. Advice for anyone in they position who don’t have time to get to a clinic:
Wet towels in ice cold* water and place it on your dogs belly and between their legs. This is where they’ve got the least amount of isolating for and therefore the quickest way to lower their temperature. Every few minutes change towels for fresh, cold ones. You can also put cold towels on the paws and carefully set their face, ears and nose.
Take care of everyone out there!
The vet told us to use ice cold water, but since writing this I’ve learnt it’s recommended to use luke warm water as not to get them too cold too quickly
People like to say “oh you shouldn’t use ice or an ice bath” because it causes construction of the blood vessels of the skin and theoretically that might reduce heat dissipation, but the goal is also to cool them from unsafe temperatures. Nobody jumps in an ice bath and is like, “oh my god I’m getting so hot”! We use ice bags and cold water; just don’t place directly on the skin as prolonged contact can harm it.
Don’t forget that cooling down a dog too quickly, by soaking it in ice water for example, can make things worse, because the body will immediately try to protect itself from the cold by narrowing the veins, thus allowing less heat to escape. It’s better to cool them down slowly
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