Spring is here and before you know it, the temperature will be climbing. While it is great to be able to go out and about with our pups, sometimes it isn’t the best idea. Once the temperature gets past the mid-80s you want to make sure that it is safe for your furry friend to go along.
We all know that the black asphalt gets crazy hot in the summer months. Did you know it can be up to 60 degrees hotter than the ambient air temperature? That means that an air temperature of 80 degrees can mean a ground temperature of 140 degrees during the heat of the day. And don’t be fooled, just because it is lighter in color, concrete can also become dangerously hot, and synthetic grass can sometimes get even hotter than the sidewalk! When taking your dog for an outing in the warmer months, make sure you are checking the heat index for their safety. A great way to test this is to put the back of your hand on the ground in a sunny area for 5 seconds. If you can’t keep your hand there, then it is too hot for your pup’s feet. Try taking them out in the early morning or in the evening after the sun is setting and the ground has had a chance to cool. If you go out in the daytime, consider booties for your pet or decide if they should come along at all. Remember to always bring along fresh water.
When you do take your dog out for a walk or to the park, make sure that you keep a close eye on them and know what to look for should your dog get overheated. It can happen quickly and your response to it can save their life. Some of the symptoms to look for are excessive panting, excessive drooling, bluish-purple gums or tongue, weakness, glazed eyes, vomiting, shaking and possibly collapsing. If this happens you should immediately carry your dog to a shaded area and wet them down with lukewarm or tap water. DON’T use ice water. Cooling them too quickly can cause their system to go into shock and shut down vital organs. If possible, put a fan on them while they are wet to cool them off. Don’t force them to drink water at this point. Let them focus on their breathing and let them drink when they are ready. It is also important that you stay calm as your reaction can either soothe or stress them. As soon as the panting stops you will want to take them to the vet to get checked out. Of course, you should never leave your dog unattended in your car, even for a few minutes. Even with the windows cracked the temperature rises quickly and heatstroke can result. Ultimately, it may be kinder to leave them at home and bring them back a treat instead of taking them along for a heat-soaked, uncomfortable trip.
Keep your pets cool and comfortable!
Kellie Jones is the Owner/Operator of Mooch’s Munchies Pet Store in Las Vegas and she is an avid advocate for pet’s health and well-being. www.moochsmunchies.com