Helping your dog beat the summer heat

Tips given for keeping pets cool in the heat.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - As we enter the summer months, many people enjoy getting outside with their families and pets. Before you head out for some fun in the sun, don’t forget that your pet can quickly become overheated.

Heat exhaustion in dogs can lead to heat stroke and even death. Dogs and cats have few sweat glands and cannot cool off like humans, so they overheat more easily.

Doctor Nate Moseley is a veterinarian at Petal Animal Clinic located at 1111 Evelyn Gandy Parkway. Moseley said your pets will give us clues as to how they are dealing with the heat.

“Look for signs of overheating,” Moseley said, “You’ll notice pets laying down more, open mouth breathing and panting very fast.”

“Just make sure they have plenty of shade and make sure you keep freshwater outside,”

“One other thing to look for in the summer months is to keep them off cement, pavement and asphalt. We see so many pets come in with their pads burned in the summertime because the temperature of the concrete or asphalt is so high in the summer months.”

Some dog breeds such as pugs and boxers have short noses and can become overheated more easily than others. The color of a dog’s coat can also contribute to a dog getting hot more quickly than others.

The coat of a darker dog absorbs more light than the coat of a lighter dog. The light’s energy is transformed into heat, which is absorbed by the dog’s body and radiated off their coats. While petting your dog, feel its fur to see how warm it is.

Here are a few additional things to remember:

  • Never leave your dog inside a parked car even for a short period of time with the windows down, a dog can quickly succumb to the heat.
  • Take frequent breaks and cool off. Remember, your dog is more sensitive to the heat than you are.
  • Avoid taking your dog out during peak hours of the day when it’s the hottest. If possible, take him in the mornings or in the evening hours.
  • Keep your eyes on your dog to see if it exhibits any signs of heat exhaustion. Often, it will include a dry nose, excessive drooling and if its gums are a different color than normal, it could be heat exhaustion.
  • You can also cool your dog off by applying rubbing alcohol on the pads of the dog’s paws. Dogs release heat from the pads of their feet, and it will help draw some of the heat out.

Summer may be a lot of fun for you and your pets if you pay attention and care for them.

Please contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about heat exhaustion or summer dog care.

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