Here in Ohio, we are having a particularly hot summer this year. The heat brings many dangers to dogs. They are susceptible to heat exhaustion or heatstroke and they can get sunburned. Here are a few tips to help your pooch enjoy the fun and sun safely.
Don't leave your dog in a parked car for any length of time on a hot day. Even when the outside temperature is in the 70s or 80s, the temperature inside a parked car can climb to well above 100 degrees within minutes. It is typically 30 degrees warmer inside a parked car than outside. More dogs die of heat exhaustion in parked cars than any other situation.
Exercise during the coolest times of the day to avoid heat exhaustion. Also avoid the hot pavement which can burn the pads of her feet. Choose the shadiest sides of the street or grassy routes, carry water with you and stop and rest if necessary. Consider hosing down your dog thoroughly before walking to keep him cool. You can also soak a bandana in water and freeze it before putting it on your dog to wear on a walk.
Keep him hydrated. Provide plenty of fresh water at all times. If your dog is outside a lot, be sure to change the water often to prevent algae and bacteria from contaminating the water. Pale colored gums can be a sign of dehydration. Do not give a dehydrated or overheated dog a lot of water to drink right away because they will throw up. It is important to cool an animal down slowly.
Provide shade for your pet when he is outdoors. Be sure there is a tree or large structure he can get under to escape the sun. Be aware that as the day progresses, shade can move.
Consider a child-size wading pool for her to cool off in while outside. Many dogs love the water. Be sure to always supervise her and change the water frequently to prevent bacteria and algae.
Protect her paws from hot surfaces. Delicate foot pads can burn and it is painful for your pet. Avoid walking on hot pavement. Use a hose to cool down concrete or deck surfaces. Never transport your dog in the bed of a pickup truck in the heat of the summer, not only is it dangerous, the hot metal can easily burn their paws.
Consider pet gear that helps cool your dog such as a specially made cooling bandana or mat. You can purchase these at most pet stores or online pet supply companies.
Protect his nose from sunburn. A dog's nose is susceptible to sunburn since it it hairless. Use a sunscreen made for dogs or children on his nose if you will be out in the sun. The tips of the ears may also be susceptible. This is also true for light colored or hairless dogs.
Try rubbing alcohol. A quick way to cool down your pet is to rub their paws with rubbing alcohol, it will quickly bring down their body temperature.
Brush your dog regularly, especially those with thick fur or double coats. Removing loose fur and heavy undercoats will help keep him cool and reduce the amount of heat trapped in the layers of fur. Contrary to some beliefs, shaving your dog for summer is not usually a good idea as it can lead to sunburn.
Be especially watchful with Bulldogs, Pugs and Pekingese breeds which are more at risk for heatstroke due to their breathing anatomy.
The best advice is to keep your dog inside during the heat of the day if possible.
Watch for signs of heatstroke
in your pet such as whining, uncontrollable and irregular panting, restlessness, deep red or purple tongue, glazed eyes, drooling, staggering, rapid heartbeat, vomiting or odd or sluggish behavior. If you see these signs, hose him down or put him in a cool or room temperature bath (not cold-the extreme temperature change can cause shock). Call your
immediately if you suspect heatstroke.
Sources: ehow.com; peta.org; today.msnbc.com; vetmedicine.about.com; hsus.org; dogs.about.com; 8pawsup.com; video.petside.com
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.