The Dog Days Of Summer
Welcome to August! Where much of the US is trying to keep cool under the hot summer sun. To stay cool, we dress in light-colored t-shirts and a pair of shorts. Your pup, unfortunately, doesn’t have this option and is stuck wearing his double-layered fur coat.
For both mankind and pup-kind, excessive heat can cause serious medical issues. It can lead to heatstroke, which is a condition marked by fever and often by unconsciousness caused by a failure of the body’s temperature-regulating mechanism when exposed to excessively high temperatures. It’s more or less like a car engine overheating to the point of seizing.
Although all pups can suffer from this condition, certain breeds such as the French Bulldog, Pomeranian, Cavalier King Charles, Boston Terrier, and Shih Tzu must be closely monitored in heat because they are very susceptible to falling victim to heatstroke. It is never recommended that any pup is left unsupervised outdoors on hot days.
Here are a few safety tips when playing with your puppy outside on a hot day:
Monitor Your Puppy’s Body Language and Behavior
If your puppy is generally very energetic and you normally find him taking you for the walk, but today he is holding back, stopping, or slowing down, he may be overheating. It does not take long for a pup to go from hot to too hot, and this is a clear sign that he is in distress.
Timing Is Everything
It is suggested that summer walks take place in the morning or early evening hours. These times of the day are easier on your pup than mid-day walks. It is also wise to go for shorter walks on hot days. If your pup insists on keeping his regular routine, consider the same distance of a trek but in laps closer to home. This is wise because you could get your pup inside your home sooner should he begin to show signs of heatstroke.
Ears and Tail Indicator
Keep an eye on his ears and tail. Typically when a pup is happy and feeling good, their tail is up and wagging, and their ears are in an upright position. Signs of heat exhaustion can affect these traits and cause their tail to hang and their ears to droop. If you notice this, it is suggested to get him inside immediately and let him cool down with fresh cool drinking water.
Older or Ill Pups
Use discretion on allowing senior dogs or dogs with medical conditions to go outside for more than the basics on days when it is unreasonably hot. Older and sick dogs tend to not do well in extreme heat and become very uncomfortable in it. Heatstroke can quickly take over, causing them potential severe medical conditions.
Misconceptions That Can Be Fatal
Some believe that pups who have shorter fur do better and can remain outside in the heat longer than other dogs. This is not true. In fact, some pups like the Havanese who have thicker coats do better in warmer climates than dogs who have a thin coat, like the French Bulldog. Thicker coats provide and an extra layer of coverage, which actually helps a pup stay cool.
Other Common Symptoms Of Heat Stroke That Should Be Take Serious
Excessive panting and/or salivating – Get your puppy indoors and hydrated.
Obvious discomfort – Get your puppy indoors and hydrated.
Vomiting and diarrhea – Get your puppy indoors and hydrated. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
Disorientation – Contact your veterinarian immediately. Get your puppy indoors and hydrated.
Seizures – Contact your veterinarian immediately. Get your puppy indoors and hydrated.
Additional Health Tips
Your pup should be given fresh drinking water before, during, and after playtime, especially on hot days. A solid thirty-minute calm and cool break after outdoor play is also suggested. This will help your pup get his body temperature down and recover from the heat.