The dog days of sum­mer? Dog­gone ruff

Soar­ing heat po­ten­tially deadly for four-legged fur-cov­ered friends

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - LIFE - By Teri Web­ster

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’

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