Who doesn’t love summer? It’s the long-awaited and all-too-short respite we get from cold New England temps. It’s a time for barbeques, swimming, camping, hiking, and so many outdoor activities and we love to share these experiences with our four-legged friends.
These glorious warm days can also pose serious danger to our pets. Please keep these helpful tips in mind so that the summer season can be safe and fun for everyone.
A car interior can heat up very quickly even when the window is cracked. Parking in a shady spot seems like a good idea. However, shady spots move with the sun and offer little protection from the heat your pet experiences inside a closed vehicle. The temperature inside of a car can spike from 80 to 94.3 degrees in just two minutes. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside your car will reach 120 degrees in one hour. The risk for dehydration and heat stroke in this situation is high.
It’s not worth the risk. Let your dog stay home when you run errands if possible or leave her with a trusted friend or doggy daycare. If your dog absolutely has to come for the ride, have someone stay in the air-conditioned car with her. If all else fails, find another time to run your errands when, hopefully, you can recruit help.
Extended Time Outside
Heat stroke and dehydration can also occur when a dog is left outdoors without ways to cool down. These can be fatal, especially in very young or old dogs.
- Did you know? Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, taking heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they cannot cool themselves and their temperature can sky rocket [HSUS].
Keep your dog indoors as much as possible when it is hot outside. If your dog must be outside longer than a potty break, be sure to provide cool water and make sure there is plenty of shade. Dog houses do not offer protection from the heat and often get hotter than the air outside.
Being low to the ground, dogs’ bodies can heat up quickly on hot asphalt. Taking your dog for a walk on hot asphalt can cause burns on sensitive paw pads. These injuries are painful and easily avoidable.
Instead, when you walk your dog, keep to grass or wooded trails. Bring water for yourself and your dog. Collapsible bowls make this simple and easy. Consider taking your dog on a local hiking trail for a fun adventure!
Dogs experience humidity differently than we do.
If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.
Know the signs of heat stroke:
- Heavy panting, difficulty breathing, lethargy
- Rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst
- Fever, vomiting
- Seizure, dizziness, Unconsciousness
- Deep red or purple tongue
If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke:
- Move him to a shady or air-conditioned space.
- Apply ice packs or cold towels to his head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over him.
- Provide cool water to drink or allow him to lick ice cubes.
- Take him directly to the vet.