Protect Your Dog
Spending time with our families is what summertime is all about. However, non-human family members require special considerations. Dr.
One problem is that dogs aren't as efficient at cooling themselves as people, Rubin explains. Dogs only sweat minimally (from the their paws). The larger the dog, the more challenging it is to not overheat. Also, dark-colored dogs radiate heat (their coats often feel very hot to the touch as a result), where light-colored dogs reflect warmth.
And there's more: Dogs with those pushed-in faces (including the Pekingese,
Signs of overheating are excessive panting, and the tongue just hanging from the mouth. Sometimes, dogs will vomit or collapse. At that point, they often don't want to drink, and may be suffering from heat stroke.
"If you suspect your dog is overheating or get to that point, use a garden hose, or cold cloth at the base of the neck," says Rubin. "And immediately call your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency clinic."
Rubin adds that when we're talking temperatures much of the country is currently experiencing - well into the 90s - the only reasonable time to take a dog out to exercise is very early in the morning, or in the evening. Not only are the air temperatures cooler, but so is the asphalt or pavement.
Werber says he periodically treats burnt paw pads. "It's not a bad idea to check the paws; if they're too hot, raw looking or ulcerated, get them off the pavement or asphalt," he says.
Keeping dogs in yards for long hours is a practice that makes most veterinarians cringe. If owners must, Werber says minimal standards are shade, water and even better if there's a kiddie pool to wade into.
Leaving even experienced swimmers outdoors where there's a full-sized pool may be dangerous without adult supervision. Even experienced dogs can't swim forever. A
Werber, a contributor to www.mypetcare.com, says, "Even a dog very accustomed to swimming in a pool might be surprised in an ocean or large lake by the waves and undertow. They can become exhausted, but you don't know it unless you're interacting with your dog and paying attention. Again, sometimes dogs will just keep going. like that Energizer Bunny, and in deep water that may be dangerous."
Every year, there are media reports of dogs dying in hot cars. "Don't kid yourself," says Werber. "It's never OK to leave a dog or cat or child in a hot car."
According to the
In many states, counties and cities, it's illegal to keep a pet shut inside a hot car, so the law may be on the side of the good Samaritan. Calling the police may be an option. In some places, this law (like many animal cruelty laws) is enforced more often than in others. Certainly, if the car is parked at a store, if more than a few minutes passes, simply fetching the owner can save a dog's life.
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