Dog Days of Summer Can Put Pets in Harms Way

When I listened to the weatherman on the news last night, I know my brow must have furrowed a bit. No, he wasn’t talking about more thunderstorms; something else was about to take place.

Every day or two for a couple of weeks, we were blessed with a shower. Most were light, less than a tenth of an inch but getting a dab of rain has kept things in my yard looking green and nice and needing a mowing every week. What the weatherman said last night that put a knot in my stomach was a forecast that read like this; hot, humid and dry. No rain anywhere in sight for at least the next week. Even though it’s July and things are supposed to be hot and humid with little moisture, these are conditions that we never like to see.

Since I don’t have a sprinkler system installed, I have to drag out hoses and move them around the yard to keep things from drying up. As much as I dislike hot dry weather and all it involves, I got to thinking about our pets, dogs especially, that can get into trouble if they stay out too long during the hottest times of year.

What are some basic rules and suggestions that apply to how to take care of your pup when conditions are like what we are experiencing? I called an expert, Lori Seacrist, one of the owners of Petite Paws Pet Hotel whose job is to take care of the dogs in her care. She shared some important tips and suggestions that will be of value in assuring that our fur buddies stay safe and out of danger during these high heat times.

“It depends a lot on the particular breed and age of dogs. Older dogs and young puppies seem to have more trouble with heat while the ‘smush nosed’ dogs, like pugs and French bulldogs have the most trouble getting enough oxygen to combat the excessive heat. On the other hand, hunting breed of dogs like Labs and hounds can more easily adapt to these extreme conditions,” Lori said.

It is also important when planning outings with your dog during times when the temperatures are brutal. She suggested that you should plan outings early and late in the day to avoid potential problems.
“If you’re out with your dog during the hottest part of the day, not only the heat but the humidity can affect them just like it does us. Nothing is much worse for dogs and people than to be subjected to high temperatures and high humidity. Be sure your dog’s ‘potty’ breaks are short and in shaded areas,” she said.

“Another thing to consider is the concrete and asphalt like on your driveway. Reach down and touch these surfaces and if it’s hot to your hand, it’s the same on their paws. Walking them on grass or surfaces other than concrete and asphalt is the best bet,” she continued.
What should you do to help your pup should you see that heat is starting to take a toll on the dog’s wellbeing?

“Dogs can be subject to heat stroke and heat exhaustion just like humans can. If your dog seems especially lethargic after being outside awhile in hot conditions, if they seem to drool or you see foam around the mouth, these are red flags. Get the dog to a cool spot and refrain from cooling them down too quickly. Definitely don’t expose them to an ice bath. Instead, use a fan, take a cool rag and put on the paw pads and on the snout to slowly bring the body temperature down,” she added.

Remember these tips to protect your fur baby during these brutal summer days.