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Keep 'em cool

Summer's here and it's a scorcher so far! Temperatures are already hitting 40ºC with the humidex and everyone's feeling it...that includes dogs! It's too hot for them to go running around and play as they normally would since dogs, like people, can suffer from heatstroke. Here are the symptoms of heat stroke according to Dr. Karen Becker:

  • Heavy panting

  • Excessive thirst

  • Glazed eyes

  • Vomiting, bloody diarrhea

  • Bright or dark red tongue and gums

  • Staggering/stumbling

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Weakness and collapse

  • Increased pulse and heartbeat

  • Seizures

  • Excessive drooling

  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect your dog is having a heat stroke and his/her temperature is under 40ºC bring your dog indoor, ideally where there's air conditioning to cool him/her down faster. Offer your dog small amounts of lukewarm/cool water (not cold!) to drink. Then call your veterinarian for further instructions. If your dog is unconscious or having seizures do not waste time and get your dog to the animal hospital, if you're able apply cool (not cold!) water to the dog's body, mainly on the head and neck, do so on your way to the animal hospital.

I took a drive around the city and took temperature measurements of the air and the ground to see the differences. All these temperatures were taken within 30 minutes of one another.

The first image is from the private trails I take the dogs on, this is the temperature of the air and ground in the sun:

Country trails temperature in the sun

This is from the same trail but in the shade, luckily the majority of the trails are in the shade:

Country trail temperature in the shade

Here are the temperatures from the city:

City temperatures on a paved sidewalk

As you can see the ground temperatures in the city are insane! Can you imagine walking barefoot on that for any length of time? The other aspect to consider is that dogs are closer to the ground than we are. This means that the shorter the dog the more they are being cooked from the ground below them.

That is the reason why I take all the dogs into the country side and not at midday. Consider this fact when booking a dog walker! Ask them where they take the dogs and if they won't share the location, chances are they're hiding something and you should look somewhere else. Demand the best for your dog for their health and happiness!

Here are some tips to keep your pet happy and cool despite the heat:

  • Make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh cool (not cold) water

  • Exercise your dog early in the morning and later at night when the temperatures are cooler

  • If you have a long-haired dog consider getting a professional haircut for your canine partner to help the heat escape their coat

  • Avoid hot pavement! As seen above it the pavement will burn your dog's paws

Follow these tips and you dog will be as cool as can be despite the heat!


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