Anyone who has been outside more than two minutes recently has experienced one incontrovertible truth: it’s hot out there. But try telling that to a dog. Many dogs, despite the fact that they are almost always caught sporting at least one layer of fur, love the outdoors. And since we love them, we want to make sure they get as much of Mother Nature as they can stand. However, while it is important to let your dog be a dog, it’s also important to keep an eye on them and make sure they have access to what they need to avoid heat stress.
Dogs can show signs of overheating when it’s a brisk (by this summer’s standards) 85º out, and humidity can add even more complications. Signs of heat stress can include difficulty breathing, heavy or excessive panting, drooling, collapse, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, and depression. If you think your dog is suffering from heat stress, it’s imperative to get him to see his veterinarian immediately, as this is a medical emergency.
That’s the scary news.
The good news? Heat stress can be prevented by proper care and attention.
First, make sure your dog has plenty of access to cool water. This is hands down the most important thing you can do for him on hot days. If your dog has been playing outside, be sure to check his water periodically to make sure it’s still cool and it’s still there—in that it hasn’t evaporated, which water is prone to do in heat. You can also put an attachment on an outdoor faucet, which your dog can lick from as much as he likes. This will give him a constant source of cool water while he’s doing his dog thing outside.
For dogs who live outdoors, the placement of their home is critical. You want a place that is both shaded and provides a consistent stream of airflow. Shade alone won’t cut it, which is why the garage shouldn’t be used as an alternative. While a garage gets your dog in out of the sun, the lack of airflow, combined with the fumes from your vehicles, can cause some health problems. Natural air is best.
If you’re thinking about making your outside dog an inside dog on certain days, just bear in mind that not all dogs can make the transition. New environments might cause them extra stress. In this case, it’s best just to make sure they have everything they need to remain cool outdoors.
If your dog is an inside dog, you’re pretty much set. Just keep an eye on him when he is outside and make sure his water bowl remains filled.
When it comes time to take your dog for a walk, aim for early morning or evening, when the heat for the day has peaked. If you wouldn’t want to walk barefoot across hot pavement, odds are your dog doesn’t want to either.
Do you have an outside dog or an inside dog? Let us know what methods have worked for you in keeping your dog cool this summer. If you need extra tips or supplies, like collapsible water bowls, visit the pet experts at Petsway! We even have all Petsafe fountains on sale through the end of August. We’ll get you and your dog set for the rest of this summer and many more to come!