Photo by Pawprince Studios
You probably already know that dog’s don’t sweat in the same way humans do, the main way they regulate their temperature is by panting and this system works quite effectively until the thermometer starts to climb into the 90s. When high temperatures are combined with high humidity it can be doubly dangerous as this reduces the level of evaporation that keeps your dog cool. The combination of heat and humidity is referred to as the heat index; a temperature of 90 degrees coupled with 70 percent humidity creates a heat index of 105 degrees, a very uncomfortable situation for both you and your dog.
Your dog’s body temperature is higher than yours (usually between 100 and 102.5 degrees) but when body temperature climbs above 106 the normal cooling mechanisms become overwhelmed. Like humans, dogs can suffer from heat stroke, heat exhaustion and cramps all of which can be life threatening if not treated immediately.
High risk groups
• Older dogs (7 years and older for large breeds 14 years and older for smaller breeds)
• Overweight dogs
• Brachycephalic (flat faced) dogs such as bulldogs or pugs
• Large double-coated breeds like the chow chow
• Dogs bred for cold climates such as malamutes, huskies, American Eskimos and Newfoundlands
Most people think that because their dog is covered in fur sunburn is not an issue, this is not true, Dogs do not burn as easily as humans do which is a good thing however this means that if your dog does have a sunburn it is no small thing and you should take him to the vet immediately. You will know when your dog is starting to burn by the redness of the skin however the burn does not always appear red and may in fact turn the skin lighter. You can prevent sunburn by limiting your dog’s exposure to the sun, especially during the heat of the day but an even better way is by spraying with Flea the Scene an all natural insect spray which contains a natural sunscreen.
An ounce of prevention:
• Keep your dog inside in a cool, well ventilated area
• Exercise early in the morning or later at night when it’s cool
• Never leave your dog in the car ! Hundreds of dogs die every year in this country because there owners were only going to be gone for a moment
• If your dog is walking on hot concrete help heal cracked paws (and noses) with bowWow Butter balm a shea butter based balm that will soothe and protect.
• Make sure you provide plenty of water, an ice cube will not only help your dog keep cool but can be a source of amusement for you; just put one on a wooden floor in front of your dog and enjoy the fun
• Baby pools are a great way to help your dog cool off
With a little forthought and planning summer can be the best time to own a dog, just remember no matter how hot it may be outside your best friend always wears a fur coat.