Wise Advice for Hot Dogs

Now that I’ve got all the sausage dog (oops, I mean ‘long dog’ ) owners scrutinizing my blog again ( “blind blogger hurls insults at Dachshund owner…” remember that?), I will remind ALL dog owners and handlers how to minimize the effect of hot weather on their pooch.  It’s one of those hot and humid days here in Halifax, so Opal is a little listless. Me?  I’m sitting around in my birthday suit and sweating.  Dogs don’t have the luxury of removing their fur coats. Nor do they sweat like humans. Their paw pads ‘sweat’ only minimally.  Perspiration is the human body’s method of regulating its core temperature. You will notice your dog panting when she is hot (or nervous). That’s their means of cooling. However, dogs can’t really cool off efficiently in hot weather. You must be cautious with your pet or working dog in the summer’s heat.  Here are a few points to remember.

  • Avoid mid day exercise or walks. Early morning and evening are preferable times.
  • Some towns allow use of pesticides on lawns or for plants and gardens. Watch that your dog does not eat vegitation or lick paws laced with the stuff.
  • Water. Lots of it available in a tip-proof dish at home. Bring some with you when you go out.
  • NEVER leave your dog in a parked car. Thousands of dogs die from heat exhaustion in cars every summer. If you see a distressed dog in a parked car, call the police or animal control. 
  • NEVER allow a dog to ride in the back of an open vehicle (pickup truck)
  • Provide access to shade and shelter if your dog is outside. 
  • Watch for antifreeze puddles in parking lots. Dogs will lap up the sweet stuff and get sick or die.
  • Do not shave your dog. They need their coat for insulation and to avoid sunburn.
  • Do not put human sunscreen or insect repellent on dogs.
  • Pavement and asphalt gets very hot in the sun and your dog will absorb heat through its pads. The pads may burn.  Walk on the shady side if possible, and do not stand idle on hot pavement. 
  • Service dog handlers should plan visits to air conditioned buildings when they can (We hang at the mall or cinema). It will provide respite. Allow more time to get where your going so you can work your dog more slowly.
  • Watch that your rover doesn’t get hurt when you’re having a Bar B Q (matches, propane tanks, coals)
  • beach outings should not be in blazing sun. Wash salt water off your dog if it swims in the ocean.
  • Pools, lakes are tempting to dogs. Supervise swimming as you would your children. Not all dogs are good swimmers. 
  • SIGNS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION/HYPERTHERMIA/HEAT STROKE: —Rapid, frantic panting—Bright red or purple tongue and gums—thick saliva—vomiting—staggering gait—rapid pulse—temperature increase to 105F—diarrhea—collapse—coma—If you think your dog is dangerously overheated: You must lower its core temperature by removing it to a cooler environment, immersing or dousing with cool (not cold) water. Start giving small amounts of water to drink. Contact the vet. 
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