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The Dog Days of Summer

At long last the long dark and cold days of winter have gone, spring has sprung and we are now about to usher in the dog days of summer.

This can conger up thoughts of long hot days where we can relax on a patio or in a pool and enjoy the warm summer rays.

But before you begin, let’s take a few minutes to think about our best friend – yes, your dog.

All dogs can and are extremely vulnerable to illnesses related to hot weather which can include heat stroke, sunburn, and even burns on the pads of their feet. The most dangerous condition being heat stroke, which cannot only cause organ failure, seizures, and/or brain damage, but in extreme cases can also lead to convulsions, blindness, hemorrhages, or even death.

In most cases heat exhaustion will occur first and the signs can include rapid panting, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea. You should also check for reddening of the skin inside the ears. If your pet exhibits any or all of these signs you should take him to a cool area, offer him water and apply room temperature water to his body allowing your pet to air dry.

If your pet not only has rapid panting but also has a bright red tongue, pale gums and sticky thick saliva, he may be experiencing heat stroke. You should immediately try to cool him down and seek vet assistance.

It’s also wise to take your pet out for his daily walk early in the morning , later in the afternoon or early evening when the sun is not as intense and the air is a little cooler. Also make sure that you carry water with you. When the air is hot, limit the duration of your walk, don’t jog with your pet and let your pet rest in the shade when necessary.

Some breeds of dogs such as English/French Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and any breed or mixed breed with a shorter or pushed in snout do not tolerate heat well at all, and you should be very careful with these dogs when the temperature rises. I would also note that dogs cool themselves by panting and you should refrain from using a muzzle or gentle leader while out walking in the heat to allow your dog to pant to cool himself. Also older dogs, ones that may be overweight or have heart problems , are more prone to having difficulty breathing and cooling themselves.

You may also want to consider giving your furry friend a summer haircut, but make certain that the fur is not completely shaved off and there is at least one inch of fur so he/she will not be subject to sunburn

I addition, you should also try to keep your pet on a grassy area as much as possible. Asphalt and cement heat up quickly and most dogs are so close to the ground that their body will quickly heat up and walking on hot sidewalks can be an invitation to burns on sensitive paw pads.

And it cannot be said enough, please, please, never leave your pet in a parked car on a hot summer day, even in the shade and if only for a few minutes – the car can become an oven very quickly and can cause serious health risks for your pet.

So be wise, be safe and enjoy summer with your pet.

Have you experienced any heat related issues with your dog? Share your thoughts with us.

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