Spring and Summer in the Midwest can be pretty unpredictable, with snow one week and record breaking highs the next. I’m sure most of us are hoping that the warm weather is here to stay for awhile and what better way to soak up the sun than to Strut Your Pup?
We are often reminded how to stay healthy and safe in the summer heat, like wearing sunscreen and bug spray, staying hydrated, being aware of signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion and safety around water. Your pup is just as likely to become uncomfortable or sick in the high temperatures and just like you, it is important to keep your furry friend healthy and happy throughout the summer.
If your dog is outside in hot temperatures, be sure they have a shady spot to rest in. When you’re on walks, take breaks by a shady bench or tree. Don’t forget to bring along a bottle of water and your Strut Your Pup water bowl! Take walks in the early mornings or evenings when the sun’s heat is less intense than during the afternoon.
If you’re taking your dog for a swim in a pond or stream, be aware of their swimming preferences. Some dogs like to swim and others don’t or can’t swim. Never throw your dog into the water and if you’re swimming for the first time, start in shallow water and slowly venture to deeper depths. Never leave your dog unattended in the water and be careful of strong currents or tides.
Heatstroke is a very serious and often fatal result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures. If you’re dog experiences the following signs and symptoms of heat stroke, follow the recommendations to immediately cool your dog down.
- Heavy panting
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Bright red gums and tongue
- Standing 4-square position or spreading out to maintain balance
- White or blue gums
- Lethargy, unwillingness to move
- Uncontrollable urination or defacation
- Labored, noisy breathing
If your dog begins to experience signs of heat strock, immediately take the following measures to cool the dog down:
- Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog’s paw pads
- Apply ice packs to the groin area
- Hose down with water
- Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water
- Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes
Check your dog’s temperature regularly while cooling them down. Once their temperature has stabilized between 100-102 degrees, you can discontinue the cool-down process.
If you cannot get the dog cooled down and begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Many of us can relate to the reference of a dog being “man’s best friend” and another member of the family. Be sure to keep your dog safe, healthy and active throughout the remainder for the Strut Your Pup Challenge and throughout the summer!
For more information about keeping your dog safe, happy and healthy in the summer, visit http://www.akc.org/public_education/summer_safety.cfm