On hot days, there are important steps you should take to protect your dog. Here are some tips for ensuring the safety and health of your beloved family member:
Hot Cars Kill
It’s cruel to leave an animal in a car: It’s like being baked alive. Even on a mild 70-degree day, a car parked in partial shade can reach a scorching 99 degrees in just 20 minutes. On a hot 90-degree day, interior temperatures can reach as high as 109 degrees in just 10 minutes.
‘Cracking’ a window doesn’t help. Heatstroke can happen in just 15 minutes, even with the car’s windows partially rolled down. Nor will parking in the shade or leaving water in the vehicle prevent your dog from overheating.
If you see a dog in a hot car, call 911. While you are waiting for the officer to arrive, take down the car’s make, model, and license plate and have the owner paged inside the store. Do not leave until someone arrives on the scene and you know the dog is safe.
Symptoms of heatstroke include restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite or coordination. Attempt to lower a symptomatic dog’s body temperature by providing the dog with water, applying a cold towel to the animal’s head and chest. If you have someone with you, take these steps in the car while one of you drives the dog to a veterinarian. This is an emergency—even a few minutes’ delay could be fatal.
Watch NFL football player Tyrann Mathieu try to survive in a hot car. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t last long. Never leave your dog alone in a parked car. Even if you’re only running quick errands, it’s safer to leave her at home.
Walking Your Dog in Hot Weather
The sidewalk pavement on a hot day can heat up to between 130 and 180 degrees—hot enough to hurt your dog’s feet and even seriously burn them. Always test the pavement with your hand before setting out (if it feels hot, it’s too hot for Spot), walk early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler, choose shady routes, carry water and take frequent breaks, and never make dogs wear muzzles or halters that restrict their breathing.
Opt for a lightweight fabric collar: In addition to helping keep your pup cool, you won’t be supporting the cruel leather industry. You can also help prevent your dog from getting “hot under the collar” by investing in a nifty swamp cooler vest.
Walk—don’t run: In warm weather, never exercise dogs by jogging or cycling while they try to keep up. Dogs will run to the point of collapse just to please you, at which point, it may be too late to save them.
Keep Dogs Indoors
Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, which makes it extra hard for them to beat the heat. Being left outside in hot weather can cause heat stress, injury, or death.
Make sure all of your friends know about these potentially life-saving hot weather tips.