All of us here at Dog Pros to Go are hoping you and your furry friends are enjoying all of the beautiful weather we have been having! I know all of my dogs have been loving the sunshine, and I am sure yours have as well. Who doesn't want to spend a little time soaking up the rays here in Wilmington? However there are a few extra things to keep in mind when it comes to dogs and hot, sunny days.
Hot temperatures can be dangerous to your dog's health- dogs experience heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn, just as we do! Dogs cool their internal body temperature in a very different way than humans. While we perspire to cause evaporation on our skin to cool our temperature, dogs do not rely on sweating. Instead, dogs pant to cool themselves. The act of panting causes evaporation of moisture in the respiratory passages. If the environment the dog is in is not cooler than it's internal temperature, this will not work as effectively, leaving your dog hot, hot, hot. In extreme cases, this can cause dehydration or heat stroke. Watch for heavy (excessive) panting, difficulty breathing, and signs of discomfort or pain. There could also be excessive drool, vomiting, or upset stomachs.
To reduce the risk, avoid spending prolonged periods of time in the sun, or try walks in the cooler mornings and evenings instead of during the hottest parts of the day. When walking, also keep in mind roads and sidewalks can be even hotter than you think! Check by placing the back of your hand on the ground for ~10 seconds; if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for him to walk on too! Other surfaces which may be too hot in the summer sun include boat docks, metal surfaces, driveways, or gravel areas. Sensitive paws burn quickly on hot surfaces, so try to keep to grassy areas. If you take your dog to the beach with you too, make sure he has shade and a cool space to lay too.
If your dog is overheating, help lower his temperature by thoroughly wetting him down with cool water. Remember to get his feet and tummy too-- your dog will cool off faster if his feet are cooled as well! Also try fun ways of cooling your dog off. Set up a kiddie pool for him to wade through in a shady part of your yard or patio, or maybe set a sprinkler up for him to run and play in.
And speaking of water, remember to keep your dog hydrated. Take water on walks with you, and make sure the dog has access to a water bowl when at home. All of the panting he has done has used up a lot of his water reserves, so make sure to he is able to replenish them and quench his thirst!