Humans know when they’re hot. We sweat, using the perspiration to cool down our bodies so the heat doesn’t overwhelm us. Our furry companions, however, don’t have that mechanism to prevent heatstroke. That’s why they need us to make sure they’re keeping safe and cool in the summer sun.
Where we sweat, dogs pant, using this panting to cool themselves down. They also release body heat through their paws and their nose. For dogs, especially the ones with heavy coats, this panting is an important sign as to when they are staying cool enough in the heat.
Excessive panting can be a sign of the onset of heatstroke. Heatstroke can be fatal to your pet in a matter of minutes, so it’s important to take quick steps to cool them down if you see them panting heavily. Move them to a cool spot and dampen their fur with cool, not cold, water. Call your vet to see if they need a trip there to make sure everything is okay.
It’s been said many times but it’s worth repeating: never leave your dog in a car during the summer months. Not even for a few minutes. The heat inside a metal car will be more than they can stand long before you come back. You should also limit the time they spend outside during the hottest parts of the day. Take walks in the cooler evening and make sure there is shade in the yard when they are outside.
Water should be available to them all day and cool treats can help keep body heat down. Frozen fruit or other types of cold snacks are an excellent source of nutrition and a good way to cool your pup down in the summer heat.
Keeping both of you cool in the summer is key to having as much fun together as you can. Take simple precautions outside and enough time inside to beat the heat and your summer will be a good time for you and your dog.