Summer is here! Enjoying the warmer weather with you furry family member is lots of fun but there are some potential problems to watch out for as you and your furry family member have fun in the sun this summer.
Our canine companions love going for a walk to check out all the sights and smells of the neighborhood. Ever walked across sand, asphalt or concrete on a hot day with your bare feet? Pretty painful! Our furry family member’s paws are just as sensitive. Place your bare hand on the surface of the sidewalk or other hot surface for 5-10 seconds, if it feels to hot on your hand it will be too hot for their paws. Their paw pads can burn causing painful blisters. To avoid these blistering hot surfaces, bring your furry family member for a walk during the cooler morning or evening hours, or just stick to the grass.
Your canine companion is susceptible to heatstroke which is a potentially life-threatening condition. The only way to regulate their body temperature is by panting or by “sweating” through their paw pads. When your canine companion goes with you on a walk or jog during the warmth of the day, they can quickly develop signs of heatstroke so it’s important to know the signs and what to do if you suspect your canine companion has heatstroke.
Signs: Excessive panting or salivation
Staggering or walking unsteadily
Deep red or purple tongue
What to do: Immediately call your veterinarian
Move to a cooler area
DO NOT put your canine companion into an ice bath the sudden cooling can cause your canine companion to go into shock
Place a cool damp towel on their back
Apply isopropyl alcohol 70% to their paw pads
The best way to keep your pet from heatstroke is to bring your canine companion for a walk or jog during the cooler morning or evening hours.
The other potential problem with summer temperatures is bringing your canine companion with you to run errands. No matter if it’s 70 degrees with a breeze or 100 degrees you should leave your canine companion at home. Owners think if the windows are cracked and they park in shade the car will stay cool. As you can see from the graph below, it only takes minutes for the temperature to climb in your car and your canine companion has no way to get relief from the sweltering heat. So if you’re going somewhere and your canine companion cannot go into the store or restaurant, please leave them at home. They will be much happier in their cool home then stuck in a hot car and developing heat stroke.
Is it a beach day or a hike in the forest day? Be sure to bring plenty of fresh water for your furry family member to drink. Salt from the ocean water and yucky microscopic parasites from streams, lakes and puddles can make your canine companion have a horrible tummy ache. While many dogs love to swim, several breeds often struggle to swim. If you have a flat-faced breed they can struggle because of their short snouts and broad chest. Even if your canine companion is a great swimmer, you should always keep an eye out and make sure they have an easy way to get out of the water. Another way to keep your furry family member safe is to have them wear a life jacket.
Summer is time for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather. You and your furry family member can enjoy them together as long as you keep your furry family member cool and hydrated.
Michelle Gnodle RVT