Every summer, heatstroke kills hundreds of dogs. Many of the pets suffer horrible deaths while trapped inside hot vehicles. A dog can also fall victim to heatstroke when outside, or at home, if its body temperature gets high enough.
Keeping animals cool during the warm-weather months can be a challenge. Everyone does not have air conditioning, and millions live in hot and humid regions. Whatever the climate, a dog has to go outside once in a while to exercise and do its business. Owners want their furry companions to be safe. Experts offer the following tips.
Never Leave Pets Inside Vehicles
People do not realize how quickly a dog can get heatstroke in a parked vehicle. When it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside may reach 102 in 10 minutes, and 120 degrees in one-half hour, even with the windows “cracked.”
Dogs do not sweat. They lower their body temperatures by panting, and in releasing heat through the pads of their paws. Both cooling methods fail when the mercury climbs into the triple digits, and the car’s interior surfaces become blisteringly hot.
Most dogs want to be with their owners. They like to go for rides. But they really are more comfortable at home, where they can relax and stay cool. When running errands, which involves frequently getting out of the car for periods of time, it is best to leave the pooch at home. An exception might be made if all the stops are at dog-friendly establishments, so no one has to stay in the car.
Fill Water Bowls
Dogs, like people, drink extra water in hot weather. Water bowls must be refilled more often. A dog that spends any time outside needs a water bowl there, as well as inside the house. The water should be replaced frequently, so it is fresh and cool (and free of bugs and other contaminants). If there is a concern about attracting unwanted wildlife, the outside bowl may be emptied at night.
Provide a Shady Spot
Dogs exposed to the sun not only must deal with higher temperatures; they also absorb more heat through their coats and paws. It is essential to ensure there are some shady spots in the yard that the pets can reach. A property’s buildings, or the trees and other vegetation, often serve the purpose.
A tarp or other type of sun screen might be necessary. There needs to be some air movement, as well. Small, enclosed spaces (like doghouses) get far too hot. The shaded area should be situated so that it catches the prevailing breezes. Kiddie pools, sprinklers and wet towels can be set up in the shade. (Continued…)