The dog days of summer are here,, it’s important to be vigilant in monitoring the well-being of our four-legged fur kids in the August heat.
Heather Allman of the Veterinary Center of Parker explains the differences in reading a dog’s overheated condition, versus a human.
“Dogs do not have sweat glands. They eliminate heat by panting as it evaporates fluids from the respiratory tract,” she says.
So it’s important that owners provide enough water for pets to ensure they are replacing these lost fluids, even placing ice cubes in the water to keep it cool “and make it fun,” she says.
Allman strongly recommends leaving dogs at home on warm days.
“On a 72-degree day, the temperatures inside your car can heat to 116 degrees within an hour,” she says. “Even if you’re just running to the store real quick or going to the gas station,” better safe than sorry, she says.
Allman also advises owners to keep pets in the house during the warmest times of the day. “It’s best to enjoy outside time with your pets earlier in the morning and later in the evening once the sun has begun to set,” she says. This also ensures that the ground is safe to touch for the pads of your dog’s feet.
In fact, during the summer months the veterinary center sees dogs with abrasions and burns on their pads from the asphalt. For some perspective, Allman explains that a 75-degree day can heat asphalt to 125 degrees. “If you test the asphalt using the back of your hand for seven seconds and it’s too hot for you to touch, then it’s too hot for your dog,” Allman says.
“Just don’t take your dog everywhere with you. They don’t need to go to the Renaissance Festival or taco night,” she says with a laugh.
Allman says there are definite indicators that signal your pet has had too much heat, though owners need to be alert to notice. Sunken eyes, dark urine and excessive panting are all signs that owners can miss when their dog is overheating. “People may be used to seeing their pets panting, but they need to pay attention to how heavy it is and how long it’s been going on,” Allman says.
By keeping your dog well-hydrated, out of the intense heat, and indoors, you can be confident that your best friend will have a happy – and safe – summer.