I love playing outside with my dogs, Maya and Pierson. And my dogs enjoy being outside. But the weather is warming up amazingly fast so I need to be aware of the effect that heat may have on my dogs. After doing a little research, here are some things I’ve found to help my dogs with pet safety under the sun.
The best way to avoid heat exhaustion or a heat stroke is to take preventative action.
* Don’t leave your dog in the car!
* Don’t leave your dog outside without shade and cool water.
* Be careful about overdoing the play, walks, and runs.
* Take cool-down breaks.
* Avoid concrete. Dark pavements get very hot.
* Use a cooling harness, cooling dog collar, or a cooling mat.
* Make sure your dog is able to pant (no muzzles).
Sometimes we get so carried away with our fun, we may not be aware that heat exhaustion is coming on. Here are some things to look out for:
* Excessive and/or heavy panting.
* Excessive drool.
* Bright red tongue.
* Lack of coordination, disorientation, and/or unable to stand.
The above symptoms are the beginning stages of heat exhaustion. If left unnoticed or disregarded, the symptoms could progress into a deadly heat stroke. Your dog could collapse and go into shock or have seizures. Get them to the veterinarian immediately.
For mild symptoms, get your dog cooled down by trying some of the following methods.
* Move inside to the a/c.
* Move your dog to the shade.
* Allow your dog to lie down in cool water (not ice water).
* Hose your dog down in cool water.
* Put your wet dog in front of a fan.
* Put cool water on his feet.
* Allow him to drink cool water; or if he won’t, put cool water on his tongue.
* Give him ice cubes to lick.
* Put ice packs on his groin area.
If the symptoms of heat exhaustion do not go away within 10 minutes or so, take them to the veterinarian. You may even want to call your veterinarian while you are trying to cool your dog down. Your vet can give you more ideas and can advise you on whether you need to bring your dog in.
Remember, prevention is the best remedy. Be aware of the signs so that you can treat your dog before the symptoms get deadly. And be aware when you see other dogs. Someone else at the park may not know to look out for heat exhaustion in their dog and may miss the signs. You could help prevent a disaster.