Keep Your Dog Safe During a Heat Wave

August 19, 2019 10:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As a veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ, pet owners regularly ask us how they can keep their beloved dogs cool when the temperatures rise above 100℉ and stay there for days at a time. Just like humans change their behaviors and habits when it’s hot, it’s best to do the same for your four-legged friends during the dog days of summer:

  • Avoid walking your dog during the hottest part of the day: Even though you might get home from work around 5:30 or so, the summer heat reaches its peak between 2 and 6 p.m. Any veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ will recommend walking your dog as soon as the sun rises and well after it sets.
  • Test the pavement before your walk: Simply place your hand on the sidewalk or road. If it’s too hot for you to keep your hand there for a few seconds, you’ll have to wait to walk your dog.
  • Keep your dog indoors as much as possible: Too much time outside in high temperatures and direct sunlight can lead to dehydration or possibly heat stroke. Set your thermostat for a reasonable temperature so your home is cool enough to keep your dog comfortable.
  • Keep an eye out for symptoms of heat stroke: Excessive panting, labored breathing, increased heart rate, fever (above 104°F), bloody diarrhea or vomit, muscle tremors and an unstable walk are indicators that your dog is not feeling well.
  • For outdoor dogs, provide plenty of shade and cool water: A metal bowl of water left out all day under a tree or shrub is not enough on these hot days. A half-full wading pool refilled daily or a sandbox with wet sand will help as well. A ventilated dog house, covered patio or shaded pen will do nicely. Make sure these areas are shaded throughout the day as the sun moves through the sky. Place two bowls of fresh, cool water in shaded areas, in case one accidentally gets knocked over or they drink all of it.
  • Be mindful of how far you’re hiking with your dog when it’s this hot: You might be able to push yourself through, but it’s different for a dog. Many Phoenix area hiking trails close to dogs when it’s hotter than 100°F because of the risk it presents.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car while you run errands: It might take you just a minute or two to run into the dry cleaners, but that’s more than enough time for the inside of your vehicle to reach unbearable temperatures for your dog. Even cracking a window is not enough to provide the ventilation your dog needs to stay comfortable. If it’s 100°F outside, the temperature inside a parked car can reach upwards of 140°F. This also applies to the beds of pickup trucks.

If your dog is experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion or stroke, contact a veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ like Christown Animal Hospital. Before you bring your dog to the vet, help lower his or her temperature by placing water-soaked towels around the head, neck and chest/abdomen and rub a small amount of isopropyl alcohol (70 percent) on the dog’s foot pads. Then point a fan directly at your pup.

For more information about how to care for your dog this summer, reach out to Christown Animal Hospital today!

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