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Dogs in Hot Weather

How To Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

We all love it when the sun shines, and we can spend more time outside - we always seem to find more outside activities in the hot weather.  A lot of these activities also include your pet dog, - unfortunately, as the temperature soars so does the risk to your dog.  The hot weather  brings with it some very specific hazards such as sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you take a few simple steps then these can all be avoided. 

Protect Your Dog from Sunburn

Dogs can also be burned by the sun, just like humans.  Dogs are particularly vunerable to burning on the nose, tips of the ears and around the lip area.  Obviously you would keep your dog in the shade during the hours when the sun's rays are most intense - usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. However, if you do need to be outside with your dog during these times, it's okay to apply sun-block to your dog's nose and the exposed skin on the ears. It's a little risky to apply sun-block around the lips so instead just keep a close watch and make sure that the area doesn't get too pink. If you notice that any portion of your dog's skin is reddened or blistered, contact your vet right away.

Protecting Your Dog from Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke

Leaving a dog in a parked car during summer weather is the leading cause of heat stroke. Dogs have actually died as a result of being left in a car for only a short time during very hot weather - do not leave a dog in a car or any vehicle unless there is lots of fresh air coming in.  Take him with you, or leave him at home in the cool.

Dogs can also suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke if they exercise too heavily on a hot, humid day or, if they live outdoors and don't have shelter from the sun. Dogs are also susceptible if they are overweight or suffer from lung or heart ailments. Older dogs are less tolerant of heat and may succumb to heat strokes more readily than younger dogs.

A few simple actions on your part can help protect your dog from heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Don't take your dog with you on errands if you need to leave him in the car. However, if you're traveling with your dog and must make a stop, even for the shortest period of time, consider leaving the air conditioner on.

If you're accustomed to taking your dog with you when power-walking, jogging or cycling, don't push him on exceptionally hot days. If he lags behind a bit, let him have a break. 

For dogs who live outside, make sure to provide "all-day shade" such as a ventilated doghouse, large beach umbrella or overhang that will remain shaded even when the sun shifts throughout the day.

Keep older dogs and those with lung or heart conditions inside your home on hot days. If you don't have air conditioning, keep a fan running.

Do not visit places where your dog will be forced to stand on sun-baked surfaces such as cement sidewalks, a truck bed or beach sand. The extreme heat can cause blisters on his pads. If you simply must walk your dog in the heat of the day, tread on grassy areas as much as possible.

Water, Water, Water!   And last but not least...like you, your dog needs to hydrate frequently so be sure to provide unlimited access to cool, clean refreshing drinking water.   It is no problem to take water with you wherever you go and don't relay on the dog 'finding' water while you are out as lots of normal water sources will dry up, and often the water is full germs which will make your dog ill.