The dog days of summer? Doggone ruff
Soaring heat potentially deadly for four-legged fur-covered friends
SOARING temperatures and the blazing sun can spell trouble for dogs left outside in the heat. And with 30-degree-plus days, that means it’s time to take extra care to keep your dog comfortable and healthy, experts say.
Mostly, be smart. Walk your dogs or take them to dog parks early in the morning or in the evening, when it’s cooler. If the pavement is hot to your touch, it’s probably too hot for your dog’s paws. And never leave them inside a vehicle.
“Dogs left outside must have access to water, food and adequate shelter,” said Whitney Hanson, director of development and communications for the Humane Society of North Texas. “In the summer months, it’s crucial that the shelter includes shade, and if possible, some kind of breeze.”
Without adequate shade and water, dogs can experience dehydration or heatstroke, conditions that are lifethreatening if left untreated. Other problems associated with warmer weather are parasites, sunburned skin and hot pavement. The good news is that all of these things are preventable.
The bad news is that dogs don’t sweat, which means they can quickly become dehydrated.
“We sweat as humans and dogs don’t,” said Lori Bierbrier, a staff veterinarian with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals national office in New York. “While they’re panting, they’re also losing fluid, and they can become dehydrated, as well.”
High humidity levels also make it more difficult for dogs to cool themselves.
Brachycephalic dogs — those with flat or short snouts, such as pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers — have an increased risk of heat exhaustion because their nasal passages do not allow an ample flow of air, Bierbrier said.
Besides the temperature, other factors to keep in mind are a dog’s age, tolerance to heat and existing health conditions, Bierbrier said.
What if your dog loves the outdoors, even in the blistering heat?
“You can purchase a baby swimming pool with just a little bit of water in it,” Hanson said. “But it’s not a substitute for having shade. You can take a jug of water and freeze it and leave it in the dog’s shelter area so he can lean up against it and keep cool.”
Similar to people, dogs can get sunburn from too much direct exposure
‘It’s rarely intentional abuse or cruelty.... No one thinks it will happen to them. They think they’ll just run into the store for five minutes, and then five minutes turns into 15 minutes’