How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer
By Colleen Oakley
WebMD Pet Health Feature Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM
Ready for a summertime game of catch with your favorite four-legged friend? Not so fast. If you're feeling the heat, you can bet your dog is, too. And for him, overheating can be dangerous. Follow these tips to keep him cool during the dog days of summer.
"Heatstroke is by far the greatest concern," says Andrea Hilden, DVM, a veterinarian with Animal Care Center of Green Valley in Arizona. A Hebrew University study found that 50% of dogs with heatstroke won't survive.
Also known as hyperthermia, heatstroke happens when a dog's body temperature rises above the average 102.5 F and can't be controlled by normal cooling processes, like panting. Warning signs include fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and, at the worst, confusion and seizures. Here's how to keep your dog cool and healthy all summer long (and even get in a few games of outdoor catch).
Follow Fido's lead. "The No. 1 sign that a dog's core temperature is getting too high is fatigue," Hilden says. "If you're out for a hike with your dog on a hot day and he's searching for every shady spot to lie down in, turn around and carry him home." If you’re worried that he’s overheated, you can use a rectal thermometer to check his temperature when you get home, she adds.
Don't let the temperature fool you. Dogs can get too hot in weather as low as 80 degrees. Add in humidity and exercise and it could be a recipe for disaster. "If you can't comfortably sit outside for an extended period of time, then don't let your dog do it, either," Hilden says.
Remember.....if it is too hot for you to be barefoot, it is too hot for your 4-legged friends.