Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hot fun in the summertime...

Being outdoors with your dog can indeed be fun. But in the summer, it can also be dangerous. The same concerns that we humans have--sunburn, heat exhaustion, and sunstroke--are shared by our dogs. Here are a few ways to prevent your dog from becoming a victim to the sun!

Use Sunblock.

Use a sunblock formulated for children, without PABA. Areas to be mindful of are the nose, the area around the eyes, and the ears. Even dark dogs get melanoma--so be generous with that application!

Limit Exposure

The sun’s peak hours are 11:00 am -- 4:00 pm. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight at these hours. If you are having a picnic, or are otherwise outdoors, make sure there is plenty of shade. And, plenty of fresh water available for your dog!

Use Common Sense and Remember, If You are Hot, Your Dog is Hot!

Hot city streets and sidewalks are uncomfortable for your dog. Don’t bring your dog with you if you are going to be out and about for more than 20 minutes.

Don’t assume that your dog is safe if she/he is playing in a pond or other body of water. If the water is hotter than 75°F, it is too hot for lengthy play.

NEVER leave your dog unattended in a vehicle, which can attain oven-like temperatures in a very short period of time.

Don’t leave your dog outside in the heat. If you must, be sure there is ample shade and fresh water available.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy panting
  • Dog begins huffing and puffing or gasping for air
  • Dog’s gait becomes unsteady
  • Dog lays down or collapses and can't get up
  • Bring your dog to a cooler place
  • If possible, take your dog’s temperature. Your dog’s temperature should be 101°-103°F. Anything at or above 105°F is a medical emergency.
  • Begin to cool your dog by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin region. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water.
  • Transport to your vet
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
The above symptoms worsen, your dog’s gums could begin to turn purple, your dog might drool excessive saliva from its nose and/or mouth and your dog might lose consciousness.


The same as for Heat Exhaustion. Bring your dog to the vet as soon as she/he seems to be cooler--internal damage is not visible to the naked eye.

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