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Photo: Nmorguelan (Shutterstock)
When they gasp, seek shade, and finally stubbornly lie down and refuse to walk, your dog is telling you something, and you probably don’t need a dog whisperer to find out: your canine friend is hot and telling you in the adorable way that only goes Dogs can.
While you can’t control the humidity or tame the relentless cruelty of the summer sun, there are active steps you can take to make your furry friend feel more comfortable during the hottest months of the year. Since dressing them down isn’t exactly an option – more on the benefits of a summer jersey – most of the advice is to help them avoid risky situations and spot the warning signs that your pup is overheating.
Here’s how to prevent your dog from overheating
It probably goes without saying, but what is true of humans also applies to dogs: staying hydrated is important when it’s hot. Dogs love to run around fraternizing with their furry friends, and maybe even when it’s excruciatingly hot outside – but they can’t necessarily ask you for a drink. So if you and your dog are out on a hot day, bring cold water and bring a collapsible bowl or something else that they can easily sip from. Water consumption will depend on your dog’s size and activity level, but you should give him the opportunity to drink frequently. How often? Pet health network recommends doing this every 15-20 minutes.
How much water does your dog need?
Contrary to intuition, your dog can also drink too much water at once, so you want to protect him from overwatering him (although rarely, Water poisoning is a risk). Arleigh Reynolds, a senior nutritionist and veterinarian at pet food company Purina, offers some guidelines for calculating a healthy water-to-weight ration:
Have a dog weighing forty-five to fifty-five pounds drink no more than four to eight ounces of water at a time. After they have had time to absorb it and get it out of their stomachs, give them a little more ten or fifteen minutes later.
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Limit your dog’s activity on hot days
The heat also means that you should place restrictions on your dog as he or she cannot cool off like humans and is not as likely to overexert himself. The American Humane Society recommends that you be active with your dog in the morning and evening hours, which are usually the coolest hours of the day, and limit his outdoor activities in the midday heat.
If you give your dog a summer haircut, he won’t cut it
When you see your long haired pooch panting in the heat, you can flinch (imagine the discomfort of wearing a full fur coat in the summer!) But don’t bother shaving it (no pun intended) to reduce the chance of it being overcooked. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Longer coats actually help dogs regulate their internal temperature when it’s hot. You could do them more harm than good there Dogs can get sunburn, especially in areas with less fur coverage.
Never keep your dog in a parked car
This is common sense and applies to any living being that cannot cool itself off by lowering the windows or turning on the air conditioning. Your parked car will turn into a stove when it’s hot enough (in some regions this can happen all year round) even if the temperatures feel comfortable and mild when you are driving outside or walking around.
Don’t assume you’re cracking a window either: the American Veterinary Medical Association points out two associations Studies, both demonstrated On hot days, the temperatures in parked cars rise almost exponentially, even with the windows closed. One of the studies “found that the temperatures in a dark sedan and a light gray minivan parked on a hot but partly cloudy day exceeded” [125 degrees Fahrenheit] within 20 minutes, ”writes AVMA.
This is also not a selective grouping of data: Twenty-eight states currently have laws on the books criminalizing leaving dogs alone in parked cars.
Know the warning signs of heat stroke in dogs
The worst result is that your dog will experience heat stroke, which is defined as “an increased body temperature above 104 ° F”. Today’s veterinary practice writes. According to the American Humane Society Symptoms of this life threatening condition include, “Excessive panting, dark or light red tongue and gums, lethargy, stumbling, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.”
If you suspect your dog may have heat stroke, see a veterinarian right away. In the meantime, there are many things you can do to calm your dog down and cool off if needed, including soaking in cold water or rubbing with a cold, wet towel or sponge. No matter what happens – and even if they seem perky after the heat – you should still take your dog to the vet as organ failure is one of the unfortunate consequences of severe heat stroke.
While it is great to watch your dog frolic and frolic during the hot months of the year, it is up to you to understand how their activity could potentially harm them. You will become a better dog owner for this and will likely enjoy more love from your furry pals.