Hot Weather and Your Pup: What to Know
It’s always a good idea to keep your pet active and stimulated. During the summer, it’s smart to make a few adjustments. Accommodating for the breed and health of your dog, exercising outdoors in summer is healthy, safe and fun! Those with longer snouts – hounds, Dalmatians – and shorter coats – beagles, chihuahuas – do better in heat than those with short snouts – pugs, Boston terriers, bulldogs – and long coats. Consider these tips to ensure you and your dog(s) have a fun and worry-free summer:
If you have a healthy, active dog, continue with your regular walks and activities, but shorten the length or duration. Keep more water handy and try to find paths or parks with shade. For dogs that are older, overweight or have other health issues, you still want to keep them moving, but consider staying in the backyard or find a park with trees, and always bring water! Go slow and pay attention to their behavior.
If the temp is just too high or your dog is happy indoors, stay inside! You can still keep them active indoors and you’ll always have access to plenty of water. Try playing fetch in an open hallway or have a dance party in the living room. Interacting with your pet while you groove is intriguing to them and builds a bond with you. Tug-o-war or playing Hide ‘n Seek with their toys are other great indoor activities.
For those of us without backyards or air conditioning, or for the many of us working from home every day, you may want to consider giving yourselves a break with an occasional stay at doggie daycare. Happy Hound offers air-conditioned play rooms where your dog will get some cool-down time, a chance to socialize with others (lucky dogs!) and you’ll get some time without distractions, however cute they are! Happy Hound also offers a Daycare Training Program that’s great for puppies or new adoptions that need a little extra help.
Quick Tips for Hot Weather
A few easy things to think about before you head outside:
- Carry a portable or collapsable water dish and plenty of water
- Look for paths or parks with shaded areas
- Avoid hot pavement, paw pads burn easily
- Go outside earlier in the morning or later in the evening when it’s a little cooler
- Consider adding wet food to their diet to increase water intake
- Make some frozen treats! Add a favorite food mixture to their Kong and freeze (also great to keep them busy), or try a ‘pupsicle’!
- Get a kiddie pool for your dog to take a dip whenever they need a quick cool down
- Give long haired dogs a trim, but never shave a dog completely, fur is their SPF!
Signs of Overheating and Dehydration
Be on the look out for any changes in behavior. Some signs include:
- Excessive panting or gasping for breath
- Mucous membrane color changes; membranes around the eyes or nose should be bright pink
- Excessive drooling or thick saliva
- Lethargy or weakness; depression
- Muscle tremors or staggering
- Skin that does not snap back quickly when pinched
If you notice changes in behavior or any of the above signs, bring your dog indoors or under shade, wrap them in cold towels and offer cool water. Don’t put ice packs on them or dunk them in cold water, as too much cold too fast can put them into shock. Try to get their temperature under 103 degrees. If your dog does not seem to be doing well, bring them to an emergency vet.
One big no-no in summer is leaving your dog in a hot car. Temperatures climb rapidly and even with the window open, your dog can easily suffer heat stroke or worse. Plus, it’s illegal in California. Just don’t do it!
You and your pooch can, and should, get outside this summer. The fresh air is good for body and soul, and we all need a bit more of it this year. Keep it fun this summer when you follow a few simple precautions and always bring extra water!