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Beacon Senior News

Pet summer safety

Jun 28, 2022 11:01AM ● By Jenna Kretschman

The dog days of summer are upon us. Officially slated from July 3 to August 11, “dog days” actually refers to the position of the sun in relation to the star Sirius, also known as the Dog Star. It also happens to be the most sweltering part of the year in Western Colorado, easily reaching 100 degree high temperatures. This summer, keep your canine companions safe with these tips for the hot days ahead.

1. Know the signs of overheating. Heat exhaustion is when your pet’s body temperature gets too hot and their body’s natural mechanisms (like panting) aren’t sufficient to cool it down to normal levels. Heat exhaustion can look like excessive heavy breathing; dry, bright red gums; excessive drooling; vomiting; wobbly legs; and loss of attention. Severe overheating, called heat stroke, can be life-threatening. 

If you think your dog might be overheating, bring him or her to a cooler environment like underneath a shady tree, or an air-conditioned building or car. Use a cool, damp towel to pat your dog’s armpits, neck, between their hind legs, ears and paw pads. Offer your dog a drink of water, and seek veterinary attention as needed.

2. Prepare before heading out. Before leaving the house with your furry friend, check the weather at your destination (whether it’s a hiking trail across the valley or just around the block) and choose a route with plenty of rest spots, like shady trees or a cool creek for your dog to dip into. Be sure to grab an extra bottle of water, a collapsible dog bowl and a rag to wipe down your dog if needed.

Hot concrete or asphalt can burn your dog’s paw pads. Test the pavement temperature by placing your hand or bare foot to the ground for at least 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin, your dog’s paws may be at risk of burning. You can purchase dog booties at most pet stores to protect your dog’s feet. Or, beat the heat by walking in the early morning or night, or head up in altitude where it’s cooler.

3. Be aware of your dog’s individual risk of overheating. Because of factors like breed, age and fitness level, some dogs are at higher risk of overheating than others. Short-snouted dog breeds like pugs and bulldogs are susceptible. Dogs that are overweight, have thick coats, are out of shape, or have certain medical issues may also be at a higher risk. 

 4. Set up a dog-friendly outdoor space at home. Keep your dog safe in his or her own back yard by ensuring there are shady spots and fresh water at all times, especially if your dog is left outdoors unsupervised. You can even set up a miniature pool for your pup to lounge in! And of course, never leave your dog in a parked car during the warmer months. Even the air temperature outside isn’t particularly hot, the temperature inside a car can quickly climb to dangerous levels.

Here are 6 more ways to protect your pets from dangerous conditions

Remember, your pet doesn’t have the ability to regulate body temperature effectively to withstand extreme heat. Read More »