During the dog days of summer, don't overheat your pet

Yes, even in the land of frostbite, ice fishing and "Grumpy Old Men," it does occasionally get hot outside. Ice cream, sprinklers and sweetly fragrant flowers are the gems of June, July and August, but too much heat can be fatal. The two main causes of overheating in pets are hot cars and inappropriate exercise.

Hot car

It seems like every summer there are news reports of parents who leave their kids unattended in cars while shopping at the mall. No living creature should be encapsulated in a four-wheeled oven.

Your dog may love to ride in the car, but that’s no excuse. During the summer months, do not take the dog with you if you’ve got groceries, prescriptions or dry cleaning to pick up. A person can’t get much done in 10 minutes, but that’s needed on a 75-degree day for the interior of a car to reach 100 degrees.

At 100 degrees, your dog is literally cooking.


Inappropriate exercise

Activities that should be fun, such as fetching or running, can turn deadly in the heat.

Dogs can’t sweat. They can only pant, which isn’t an efficient way to get rid of excess body heat.

Short-nosed breeds are even more susceptible to overheating.

Take it easy on your pet. Exercise them only in the early morning or later evening. If you’re sweating just standing still, it’s way too hot and humid for your dog to do much more than stroll around outside.

Make sure your dog has access to water all day during the summer months. Depending on their hair coat, some dogs do better with a shorter style in the summer and a longer length in winter.

Heat stroke

So what if the worst happens? You’re outside, playing fetch with your Labrador retriever who absolutely loves his ball, which means he doesn’t know when to say no. Suddenly, the dog staggers and collapses to the ground, tongue hanging out to the side.


What should you do? Heat stroke is an emergency situation.

First, get a hose. Check the water temperature. Make there isn’t boiling water left over in the hose from the hot day. Run cool water over the dog’s feet, belly, legs and back. Avoid his head.

After a few minutes of this, get the into the car and drive quickly to the vet’s office with the air conditioning cranked all the way.

At the vet’s office, the dog's temperature will be checked. The normal temperature for a dog is 100.5 to 102.5, but overheated dogs often soar to 106 degrees. A very brief physical exam will be performed, and then the dog will probably be rushed to the back for more cooling fluids.

But all of this can be avoided if you just pay attention to the temperature outside and adjust your actions accordingly.

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