May 11, 2016

Keeping Your Dog Safe from the Heat this Summer

Can you believe it’s already May?! 2016 is flying by before my eyes and it’s nice to take a moment to sit down and write out some thoughts that have been jumbling around in my head.

Every time summer rolls around, the warm and beautiful Pacific Northwest weather reinvigorates my energy. I’m looking forward to going on hikes, exploring Washington trails, and just spending time outdoors with my crazy yet oh-so adorable Doberman Pinscher Bijoux. Every summer, I am also reminded to be extra vigilant about keeping Bijoux comfortable and cool in the heat.

It’s important for every dog owner to understand the effects that rising temperatures can have on their pets. Canines can easily experience dehydration and heatstroke as they only release heat by panting and through the limited number of sweat glands between their toes. As active and energetic as your dog may be, it’s important to take a step back and consider their wellbeing before partaking in summer activities, such as hiking, camping, road trips, etc.

Recognizing the signs of dehydration and heatstroke in dogs and knowing how to prevent them from occurring is essential for all the dog moms and dads out there. Here are the most common telltale signs to watch out for: excessive panting and salivation, increased heart rate, dry or dark pink gums, and trouble standing or walking.

Here are a few ways to keep your hot dog cool at home or on your next summer adventure:

  • Keep fresh, clean water handy. While many public establishments, such as coffee shops or parks, will have a doggy bowl available for parched pooches, I recommend always bringing your own water to keep your dog well-hydrated. Bijoux wears a doggie backpack and carries his own water when we go on hikes.
  • Avoid walking on hot pavement or asphalt. Your dog’s paws are just as sensitive as the soles on your own feet. A trick to figuring out if it’s too hot to walk is pressing the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds. If your hand is burning up after 5 seconds, postpone your walk until it’s cooler out.
  • Consider purchasing a cooling vest or kiddie pool. Cooling vests use evaporation to mimic the cooling effects of humans’ sweat. Simply soak the vest in cold water, wring it out, and fasten the vest to your dog. If your pup is finicky about wearing clothing items, you should highly consider purchasing a kiddie pool this summer. They are light-weight, cheap, and give your dog the chance to take a dip and cool off whenever they want.

Most importantly, never ever leave your dog in an unattended vehicle this summer. On a 78-degree day, temperatures can soar up to 100-120 degrees within minutes, even with the windows partially opened. Last year, Washington State passed a bill that makes leaving a pet locked in a car under dangerous conditions a civil offense. Regardless if the windows are cracked or if you’re just running a quick errand, you are putting your pet’s life in danger when leaving them in a parked car.

While you and your four-legged furry friend are enjoying the sunshine and outdoors this summer, remember to always keep their wellbeing in mind. From one animal lover to another, have fun and stay safe!