Hot weather is here and sharing safety tips is always important!

You want to take your dog with you everywhere – it’s summer now! But it’s 90 degrees out and your best friend will melt in the car. So you stay home and hang out in the yard instead. Still concerned and not sure how hot is too hot for your dog?

Your dog doesn’t sweat like we do! Heat dissipates through their ears, panting and their paws.

So what does overheating look like?

Here’s a guide and signs of overheating:

  • Profuse and rapid panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Thick drooling saliva
  • Wide eyes with a glassy look
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea (this is the most common sign)

While you’re playing in the yard or watching your dogs chase each other, have water and ice cubes available at all times. You can use a thermos/insulated flask or ice chest for the water to keep it cool. If your dogs are like mine and don’t like to slow down and get big drinks, freeze chicken or beef broth as ice cubes!

Check the water in the doggie bowl frequently to make sure it has not become warm or even hot. It can feel like bath water after even 15 minutes in direct sunlight.

8 Hot Weather Safety TIPS for Pet Parents

1. Dogs with medical conditions (e.g. heart issues) or predisposed to overheating

Please use caution if you live with dogs with conditions like heart disease when outside – you should talk to your vet about how much time out in the sun is OK and what respiratory distress looks like. Certain breeds are predisposed to overheating quickly. This includes any flat faced breed like Pugs for example.

2. What to do about dogs in cars.

Cover your car with a reflective blanket or heat-blocking cover. Shade cloth is used by many pet parents that participate in dog sports during warmer months and dogs are often crated in vehicles.

Shade cloth is designed for greenhouses and all types of pet or animal enclosures. These can literally be put over your car.

Keep the A/C running but have the windows cracked is another option but of course, use your judgment and never leave your dog in the car unattended.

3. The Pavement is hot!

Park in a shady spot so at worst your dog is walking under a tree in a grassy area and their paw pads aren’t on the pavement in direct heat. Also, put your own hand down on the pavement and check it BEFORE your dog walks on any surface. You’ll be able to make a judgment immediately.

If you must walk your dog on a sidewalk they will need boots. 

There are many types of boots to choose from for your dog and all paws are not equal. It’s ideal to bring your dog over to the store so we can measure their paws but at worst bring one measurement -the width of their paw with weight on it. We found some great advice from Ultra Paws.

Measure your dog’s front paw to ensure a comfortable fitting boot.

  1. Place the paw on a piece of paper and press down on the top, mimicking how the paw spreads when the dog’s walking.
  2. Mark the left and the right side on the paper and measure the distance between the marks. Compare this to the boot sizes. The width of the paw should be smaller than the boot size. For example, if the foot width is 1 1/2 inches, order an X-Small at 1 3/4 inches.

Other brands that you might see are Ruffwear, Kurgo, Pawz, and RC Pets.

4. What temperature is an emergency?

Anything above 106 degrees must be dealt with aggressively. Immediately go to your vet.

Mildly increased temperature (less than 105°F) may only require rest, a fan to increase air circulation, fresh water to drink and careful observation.

5Pools are fantastic, but your dogs should be supervised

It’s fun to visit a friend’s pool but make sure your dog has a life jacket or float coat. Don’t assume your dog knows how to swim. Some breeds are not natural swimmers and may need extra help!

6. Summer check up (watch the video!)

Nose to tail exams are important any time of year but it’s good to get a baseline before summer comes around. It’s a good chance to talk to your vet about anything you’ve noticed that’s out of the ordinary. And perhaps your dog has allergies that are seasonal and could benefit from medication – this is a great opportunity to bring up some things you’ve seen pop up.

7. Seniors!

They can easily overheat. Unfortunately, their bodies don’t work as efficiently as they used to so keep senior dogs inside or monitor the time they are outdoors. A little vitamin D is ok but they shouldn’t be left outdoors for long periods of time. Watch for signs of heavy panting.

8. Ticks and flea season is still here

Summer is when we need to worry about fleas and ticks. There have been cases of ticks in our area so please check to see what oral medication is available from your vet! And fleas are basically everywhere.

Heat stress can put your dog in the hospital. It is easy to avoid any emergencies by following these simple tips. Ask our staff about cooling vests and products that you should have in your summer toolkit.