Click here to learn more.
Never assume that it is OK to leave your dog or cat in a car unattended during warmer weather, and carefully monitor and limit strenuous exercise periods for your dog in high temperatures. Reduce the time you allow your dog to walk, run or jog with you, or to follow you during bike rides. If it’s hot enough, you may need to postpone the activity altogether. Keep in mind that obese dogs or ones that only exercise occasionally are particularly vulnerable to overheating.
Even on a reduced exercise schedule, take frequent rest breaks in the shade. Remember to take water and even ice cubes along for your dog to drink when outdoor temperatures are above 80 degrees. Towels that can be wet with cool water and placed over your dog can help bring his body temperature down following exercise bouts — but be sure to remove the towels once they become warmed from body heat. Exercising in dog parks early in the morning or later at night when outside temperatures are lower will also reduce the risk for heat-related injury. Restrict exercise when outside temperatures are above 80 degrees, especially in locales with high humidity. Finally, dogs with long hair may benefit from being clipped or shaved for the summer months.
Recently, my own dog was vigorously exercising in the dog park — running around with two other dogs and having a great time. The ambient temperature was about 92 degrees, and the humidity was quite high. He was fine for about five minutes, but then started to salivate a lot and was panting very rapidly. We removed him from the park and walked back to the car. He could not jump into the car on his own, and I had to lift him into the vehicle. He was extremely quiet and didn’t move during the five-minute drive home. I kept the air-conditioning on high with the vents directed his way. Upon arrival at the house, I hosed him down for five minutes with cool water from the garden hose. He revived over the next 10 minutes. Had he not come around right away, we would have been on our way to the emergency clinic for IV fluids. This incident underscored for me just how easy it is for a dog to get into trouble in the heat — even with a watchful veterinarian as an owner. If you see any potential signs of distress in your dog, be sure to take prompt steps to cool him. And if you have any doubt about how serious the situation may or may not be, call your veterinarian immediately.
Dennis Chew, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM, is a board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine specialist, a vetstreet.com board member, and a frequent lecturer and author of numerous scientific books and publications. He is a Professor Emeritus of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine where he taught for many years. He has a special interest in nephrology and urology in small animals and pioneered many of the diagnostic procedures used today for urinary endoscopy in dogs and cats.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
The Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Alex Cobb
made a stellar play when he rescued a
dog who was running loose in traffic.
From the very capable Dalmatian to the
high-energy Jack Russell Terrier, these
breeds make great running companions.
Does your kitty pee on your sweetheart's
shoes or wake him up in the wee hours of
the morning? Don't worry, we can…
Make it part of your spring cleaning plans
to replace or repair crates, beds, tags and
toys that are no longer in…
An expert explains which protein
sources are best for pets and how much
of it cats and dogs need to consume.
If you've ever vacationed on the Greek
islands, you may have noticed Aegean
Cats hanging around fishing boats.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.