With temperatures setting records across the country this summer, keeping your cool while trying to enjoy the outdoors can be a challenge. Lots of summer fun awaits – from hikes and picnics to boating and beach time – but you’ll need to plan ahead, especially if your pets are going along for the ride.
It goes without saying that you should never leave a pet or child in your car, even if it is parked in the shade. And be aware of how hot the pavement can get. Concrete, asphalt, artificial turf and other footing can get too hot once the air is upwards of 85 degrees. These surfaces can cause burns or blisters on your dog’s paws, so test it out with the back of your hand or a bare foot before you take your dog on a daytime walk or jog.
Hot pavement can also contribute to overheating, which can quickly become dangerous. Warning signs include frantic panting, extreme salivation, bright-red membranes such as the gums, and labored breathing, according to the American Kennel Club . The risks of overheating are even greater for Brachycephalic dogs, which have shorter, pushed-in muzzles, shortened facial bones, and noses that are pushed in and upward. Their limited airway capabilities are less effective at reducing body temperature through panting, says the AKC.
If you suspect a problem with overheating, stop any activity and get to a cooler location if possible. Provide water to drink and spray your dog with water or use wet towels. Even if you are able to alleviate the immediate symptoms, notify your vet’s office so they can check for complications such as organ damage. You can call us here at Animal Health Clinic of Baton Rouge anytime during office hours.
Wherever your adventures take you, always make sure your dog has access to plenty of clean, cool water and some shade. For backyard fun in the sun, you can set up a wading pool and hose or sprinkler, followed by a frozen treat or freezable chew toy. For hikes, camping and picnics, look for locations with a body of water for splashing around, such as a lake or river. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, it’s a good idea to bring a well-fitted life vest, and never leave your dog unattended near the water.
It’s hard to beat spending time outdoors in the summertime with the ones you love. Wherever you decide to go, you are sure to make lasting memories as you slow down and enjoy the dog days of summer together.