Well, Beat the Heat by Giving Your Furry Friend a Cool Treat!

by Mitchell Tester, College Student

With the 90-degree weather as of late, summer is finally starting to really heat up. Ice cream, pool parties, the beach, and much more, are all staples of a good summer. Although, what about the much fluffier part of our family? Taking extra steps to ensure your dog is safe this summer is vital to having them enjoy summer just as much as you do.

Unlike humans, dogs cannot sweat to cool themselves down. The only way they have to cool themselves down is to pant, as well as release heat through their paw pads and nose. Pair that with all their fur, and it means that the heat can get to them much easier than it can us. This puts dogs at a greater risk for overheating.

Humidity during these summer days is also a factor, the more humid it is, the greater the risk for overheating and, in extreme cases, heat stroke. Heat stroke is a serious and life-threatening condition that can occur in your dog very quickly if they are not cared for. Early signs of heat stroke in dogs can include: inability to move or stand, rapid panting, red or dark pink gums, and diarrhea. If you believe your dog is suffering from heat stroke, contact a vet immediately.

To avoid a situation as tragic as your furry friend getting heat stroke, certain actions can be taken to keep them safe in the heat. One very important action to be taken is to keep them well hydrated throughout the day, ensuring that they always have access to fresh, cool water. If weather conditions are above 90 degrees, it is best to keep your pet inside and only allow them to be outside for no more than 10-20 minutes at a time. If they are outside, provide them with an ample amount of shade and water. You should never leave your dog in a car during temps of 70 and above for any amount of time, no matter the circumstances. In fact, a parked car in 70-degree weather can reach 100 degrees in just 20 minutes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. It is also important to note that leaving the car with the windows open does not lower the temperature inside the car to make it safe enough for your pet; it would only provide some ventilation, which does not make it safe. It is best to leave your dog at home while you run errands or have someone in the car with the A/C blasting while your furry friend stays in the car.

What about a cool treat for your furry friend? There are many treats you can make at home to help cool your dog off in the summer heat, including freezing a mashed banana and peanut butter inside a toy Kong or chilling carrots in the freezer.

Another effective way to cool off your furry friend quickly is a paddling pool. Positioned in a shady spot, this can provide a refreshing escape for your dog. Fill the pool halfway with cold—not freezing—water, and add some toys to make it extra fun!

Providing your dog with fresh cool water at all times throughout the day, not leaving them in the car, in 90-degree weather allowing them to be out for no longer than 20 minutes at a time, and providing them always with ample amounts of shade when outside are just some of the ways you can ensure that the furry member of your family stays safe and healthy this summer season!

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