As July temperatures heat up, people aren’t the only ones panting.
Tea Veterinary Clinic owner and veterinarian Tom Rentschler said dogs are more affected by the heat than cats since most cats are indoors and are not exercising in the heat.
“Dogs we see a fair number through the summer months. Dogs just don’t know when to quit. That’s where as owners we need to be mindful of the situation and of their health also,” he said.
Dogs do not sweat and get rid of excess heat through panting. Heat stroke can be a major concern for dogs.
To keep dogs cool this summer, Rentschler said pet owners can do some common sense things.
• Go for runs or walks early in the morning or later in the afternoon when it is cooler outside.
• Postpone heavy exercise for a day or two. “If it’s really hot and steamy just postpone it for a day or two or just make the sessions really brief so they can get rid of some pent up energy, but not overdo it,” he said.
• Walk dogs on grass or buy some dog booties to keep paws safe from hot cement. If their paw pads do get burned, Rentschler said they heal fairly quickly and owners can put Vaseline or bag balm on them to keep them moisturized.
If a dog becomes overheated, Rentschler said that can be hard to determine. A cool water bath can cool them down. He said not to use ice because that will cool them down too quickly. They can also bring a hot dog inside, turn on a fan or use cool towels.
If a dog is having trouble breathing, they need to be seen by a veterinarian.
“If they’re seeing respiratory difficulty, that’s a real bad sign. Oftentimes they’ll get some real severe GI effects like severe vomiting, diarrhea. Those can lead to dehydration,” he said.
There is no right temperature for a dog. Just like humans tolerate heat differently, so do dogs.
“Everyone’s going to be individual in how they tolerate it. Every dog is going to be like that, individual based; on how they’re acclimated to it is a big thing,” he said. “House dogs go out on the weekend and they could have trouble.”
Besides heat, dog owners should keep their dogs on a flea, tick and heart worm disease regimen this summer.
“Talk to your veterinarian and get your pet on a good flea and tick preventative and get dogs on a good heart worm preventative,” he said.