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10 Summer Heat Tips for Dogs

The dog days of summer can be dangerous for your dog. Warm weather brings a lot of problems for dogs because furry coats hold the heat. Left outside in the sun or even in the shade on brutally hot days, dogs can suffer heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Because dogs have no sweat glands distributed throughout their bodies, they are more susceptible to heat-related discomforts, and must rely on panting or sweating by their footpads to deal with the heat and humidity. Panting alone is not enough when the temperature soars. If your dog gets overheated act fast. Get your pet to a veterinarian or emergency animal clinic right away -- it could save your pet's life! Signs that your dog may be overheated include problems breathing, excessive panting, drooling, weakness, stupor, and an elevated heart rate. Symptoms can also include seizures, vomiting, a temperature over 104 degrees F, and bloody diarrhea.

dog summer sprinkler

Like you, your dog will appreciate some help battling hot or humid weather. Here are 10 easy tips to keep your dog cool.

1. To prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke (possibly death) never leave your dog in a car in the summer heat. Your car is an oven. Temperatures can reach over 120 degrees F. Cracking a window will not help.

2. Air conditioning is the best way to help your dog stay cool in the warm weather, but if you don't have that luxury, place fans in places where your dog likes to sleep. Window fans set on exhaust will help circulate the air inside your home and keep your dog from heating up.

3. The best thing to do when taking walks is go in the morning or evening. When taking walks on very hot days put Doggles on your dog to protect his eyes from the sun, and limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Pavements get very hot and can burn your pet's paws. If the sidewalk is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your dog to walk on. Bring along water and make frequent water stops for the dog. Don't take long walks or over-exert in the summer. Consider these walks light exercise.

4. Allow your dog access to cooler rooms of the house, such as the basement, the garage, or a screened porch where there's a breeze.

5. Buy a dog swimming pool and fill it with water for your dog to get into, wet down your dog with a garden hose, turn on a lawn sprinkler, or place a cool wet towel on your dog for evaporative cooling.

6. Keep your dog's water dish filled with cool, fresh water. Place ice cubes in the water during the hottest periods of the day. If you have water outside, pound a stake in the ground in his outdoor area. Place an angel food or bundt cake pan with an opening in the center over the stake to keep your dog from tipping over the pan. Fill the pan with water.

7. Older and overweight dogs are more at risk from the heat, so be more sensitive to their different needs in warm weather. Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, overweight dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats.

8. Attach a licker to an outdoor faucet or hose in your dog's run. When he's thirsty, he licks the device to get fresh water. The licker can be attached to a hose and extended into your dog's run.

9. If your dog stays outside in a dog house, make certain the house is placed in the shade. A dog house heated by the summer sun can be almost as deadly as a closed car. Cover the floor with cedar shaving to help retain the moisture in his skin.

10. Pets can get sunburned too and your pet may require sunscreen on the nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. If you choose to clip your dog, keep in mind that shearing the hair too close can leave your dog susceptible to sunburn. If you do trim the fur, always leave at least 1 inch of hair for protection from the sun.