Caring for your canine companions during the summer heat

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2019


K9 Corner

It is July 4th as I write this, and the outdoor temperature is hot. My dog is basking in air conditioning and doesn’t realize how hot it is until he has been outside for several minutes. Instead of taking care of his elimination duties, he starts sniffing around, scratching his back with a glorious roll ending with a vigorous shake. Suddenly, he realizes that it is hot and “Let’s go inside where it is cool,” but I am watching and say again, “Go potty,” and reluctantly he does.

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The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals has various tips for keeping your pets safe and healthy during this hot weather. The first tip is to see your dog’s veterinarian for a general check-up if you have not done so earlier in the year. If you haven’t been giving heartworm preventatives, have your dog checked for signs of heartworm before the mosquito invasion occurs.

Be sure your dog has access to cool, clean water at all times especially during hot weather. The ASPCA states that dogs get dehydrated quickly in hot, humid weather. Cool water helps keep the dog’s internal temperature closer to normal. When letting him outside, stand by to let him back in whenever he is ready. If your dog is mainly an outdoor dog, be sure there is plenty of dense shade available, with either a raised pallet or some thick grass, or straw for him to lie on. As the temperatures rise, it would be wise to bring this dog inside during the hottest part of the day to rest.

This is the time of the year that dogs are often stolen. It may be wise to keep your eye on your dog, even in the cool of the morning and bring him in for safety’s sake. Don’t tie him out on the porch if you need to go inside to retrieve something before taking him for a walk.

Know the symptoms of overheating such as: excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, unconsciousness, seizures or vomiting.

Those who have pets with flat faces, like Pugs, need to be extra careful since these breeds are more sensitive to heat. Elderly, overweight and those animals with heart or lung disease are also sensitive to heat. Never leave your pet alone in a parked car as the vehicle becomes an oven in just minutes in this weather. Leave your pet at home when you run errands.

Do not leave your dog out in the vicinity of a swimming pool, a number of dogs cannot swim and need to be taught first. If you are out in the country, do not let either your children, or your pets swim in ponds with algae floating on it. There is one species of algae that is deadly to both humans and animals.

Finally, don’t take your dog out when the sidewalk or asphalt is hot. You may have shoes, but your dog will burn the pads of his feet.