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Keeping your dog cool in the summer heat

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Summer heat can be hard on your dog. Walks need to be taken shortly after sunrise or after sunset, and exercise needs to be moderated.

Not paying attention to the temperature can have pretty big consequences for your fur baby. Heatstroke, which can be fatal, can happen within minutes.

All dogs are vulnerable to heatstroke, but some are more suspectable. If your dog is very young or old, you’ll want to take extra precautions to protect your dog also, if your dog is a brachiocephalic breed, such as a French Bulldog, Pug or Pekingese. Dogs that have heart conditions or are overweight or physically inactive are also more at risk.

Here are some tips to keep your dog cool in the summer heat.

Never, ever leave a dog in car.

Even with the windows cracked, a car is far too hot for a dog in the summer heat. Even when it’s only 70 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 100 degrees in just a few minutes.

Remember, dogs don’t sweat to release heat through their skin. They pant and rely on the pads of their paws and their noses to stay cool. They cannot regulate their internal temperature the way we do and can quickly succumb to heatstroke, which can lead to permanent damage to the brain and vital organs or even death.

No matter how fast you think you can run into and out of the store, don’t leave your dog in the car. Not only does heatstroke happen fast, but so often things don’t go as you had planned when you are inside. Unexpected delays often occur, and it’s never worth it to put your dog’s life at risk.

Keeping cool on summer walks

Summer walks can be much hotter than you think. Even when you look at your phone and it says 75 degrees, if there is not any cloud cover, 75 degrees can be incredibly hot.

Plan to take your walks as early as possible, most especially if you have a dog with a thick coat. Check the temperature before you leave the house for the current temperature and for what it will be when you expect to arrive back at home.

Try to plan for walking in as much shade as possible if you walk while the sun is out. Also, avoid walking on asphalt or pavement. When the air temperature is 77 degrees, the pavement can reach 125 degrees. If it’s 86 degrees, the pavement can be 135 degrees. That’s hot enough to fry an egg is less than 5 minutes!! Temperatures that hot will burn your dog’s paws and also very quickly raise his core temperature leading to heatstroke in minutes.

Remember, the lower your dog’s center of gravity to the ground, the faster he will overheat from the warmth of pavement as it moves up to his body. A low to the ground, Dachshunds, will overheat a lot faster than a Labrador, whose ribcage is farther away from the pavement.

If you live in the desert, you are probably already accustomed to taking walks long after the sun goes down. But it’s not only the desert where temperatures soar. Also, remember if you are at a high elevation, the air temperature may not be as hot, but the sun is powerful, and surfaces heat up fast.

It can be hard to fit everything in when you are trying to beat the temperature clock in the hottest months of summer, but your dog will truly appreciate your extra effort.

Cooling Vests

Cooling vests for dogs are a must-have for every dog that lives in a climate that gets warm in the summer. They make a big difference in your dog’s core temperature, and they last for years. When selecting one, consider your dog’s coat length and how much weight he can comfortably carry. Some cooling vest can weigh 5lbs when soaked with water. Others are much lighter weight.

Cooling vests work through evaporation. Some can lower your dog’s core temperature up to 30 degrees for several hours without replenishing with water. Be sure to read through the reviews and specifications when choosing a jacket for your dog. Make sure it fits appropriately and accommodates your dog’s harness underneath or has a D-ring for leash attachment.

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