Summer Tips for Dog Lovers
Summer is fun for humans and dogs alike but a few common sense suggestions may make yours a happier one. Some dog's are particularly sensitive to the heat regardless of breed or amount of fur, watch your dog closely to prevent heat stroke and make sure your companion lives to a ripe old age.
- Never leave your dog in a car in the summer even with the windows down or air conditioner running. Cars can stall or run out of gas.
- Never leave your dog tied outside unattended in summer. Leave him in the basement or in a crate with a fan or air conditioner.
- Don't walk or exercise your dog in the middle of the day. Go early in the morning or after the sun sets.
- Take your dog swimming instead of running.
- Buy a kiddie pool for your yard and put your dogs favorite toys in it. Teach your dog to play in the sprinkler or hose.
- Try not to take your dog from cool air conditioning to intense heat, the temperature change could make him collapse.
- Don't shave your dog down to the skin unless you have a breed you would do that with normally (like a cocker or a poodle). Less hair does not make the dog cooler. Nature has designed it so that dogs with a lot of fur (goldens, huskys, akitas) channel air to the skin to help cool them.
- Keep your dog's coat in good condition by brushing him regularly and removing trapped dead hair which will prevent air from reaching his skin to cool him.
- Get your dog to the vet fast !
- Cool him down slowly in lukewarm water not freezing cold water. An abrupt change in temperature could make his body go into shock.
- Put cotton soaked in rubbing alcohol between his toes.
- Take his temperature every few minutes to be sure it's going down. Normal for a dog is 101-102.5. A high temperature for a dog is considered 104 or higher.
- Wet a towel and wrap the dog in it.
- Take the dog to an air conditioned room or car or set up a fan.
The most important thing to remember if your dog overheats is to act fast. If a dog's temperature stays high for longer than a few minutes permanent brain damage can result. If you cool him down, do so slowly so as not to send him into shock. Even if the crisis passes don't take any chances get your dog to the vet immediately.