by Loree Walden, Marketing Manager, Yavapai Humane Society
As our temperatures soar higher, pet owners should take extra precautions to help their four-legged family members stay cool. Balancing outdoor recreation with heat safety is serious business with dogs.
Hot asphalt can burn a dog’s feet within minutes. Never walk your dog on a surface you could not walk barefoot on. To test if it’s too hot, place the back of your hand on the ground and hold it there for seven seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them. Remember that a dog’s body is much closer to the ground than yours, which makes them more vulnerable to the heat emanating from the road.
Try to walk your dogs earlier in the morning or later in the evening when it is a little cooler, and always try to stay in the shade. In addition, carry water with you in case they (or you) get too hot.
Heatstroke is one of the most common canine afflictions, and one of the most lethal! It’s important to learn the symptoms and signs of heatstroke and how to treat it. Symptoms include vigorous panting, unsteady walking, physical depression or agitation, thick saliva or froth at the mouth, rigid posture, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, collapsing and signs of shock.
Certain dogs are more prone to heatstroke and extra precaution should be taken if they are darker-colored, have thicker fur, are overweight, older, or dogs with flatter faces and shorter noses.
If your dog shows any signs of heatstroke, get them inside immediately and get them in a bathtub to hose down with cool water, or soak a towel with cool water and cover them. It’s important to call your vet and let them know that you suspect your dog has heatstroke and find out if they want you to come in.
Lastly, do not leave your dog in the car under any circumstances. If it’s 85 degrees outside, it only takes seven minutes for it to hit 100 in your car, which again sets your pet up for the risk of heatstroke or worse!
Taking a few extra precautions will help everyone enjoy a fun and safe time outside.