Is it HOT where you live this summer? I know it’s hot here in Southern California. And the heat makes it tricky to safely walk your dog. If you’re not careful, your dog can easily suffer from burned paws, sunburn, and heat exhaustion.
Let’s start with burned paws. Your dog’s paws can burn on the pavement and also on the sand on the beach. In case you haven’t noticed, your dog did not come with shoes!
There’s something called the “5 second rule.” If you put the back of your hand on whatever surface you’ll be walking your dog on, and it’s too hot for you to leave your hand there for 5 seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
All dogs can get sunburned. Resist the urge to shave your dog, thinking she’ll be cooler, as you’ll expose the skin. Instead, just trim the hair shorter.
White-colored and hairless dogs are most at risk.
Walking the Dog in the Summer Limit your walks to early in the morning or later in the evening, about an hour after the sun has gone down. Take along lots of water and make frequent water stops for both you and Fido. Don't take long walks or over-exert in the summer.
Heat Exhaustion Heat exhaustion is common in dogs. It can happen on a walk or in your own yard.
Dogs don’t cool themselves by sweating, like we do. They cool themselves by panting. If panting does not reduce the body temperature, your dog will develop heat exhaustion.
Early signs of heat exhaustion include rapid breathing, heavy panting, and salivation. Other signs are fatigue, muscle tremors, and staggering.
If you even think your dog is experiencing heat exhaustion, take her to a cool, shady place, and apply wet towels or cloths to help cool down the body. Give her dog small amounts of water, and immediately call a vet.
Pro Tip: Keep a large plastic syringe with your dog’s water bottle. That way, if your dog refuses or can’t seem to drink, you can use the syringe to pump some water in her mouth.
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