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As the weather gets warmer, pet parents and their dogs begin spending more time outdoors. While fresh air and some sunshine (with proper sun protection) are great for overall health, too much time in a hot environment can be dangerous. Humans and dogs alike are susceptible to overheating and dehydration.
Dogs, however, can’t tell their pet parents that they’re thirsty. Instead, they depend on their humans to protect them and meet their needs. Pet parents need to be aware of the signs that something’s wrong, what they can do in an emergency, and how to avoid dog dehydration and overheating this summer.
When people get hot, they sweat. It’s how the body cools itself naturally. That can lead some pet parents to wonder, can a dog sweat, too? Unfortunately, no. Dogs pant to cool themselves instead. The hotter they get, the harder they pant. That can be a sign of a dog heat stroke.
Excessive panting is only one sign of dog overheating and dehydration. Other signs pet parents should watch for include:
Prolonged skin tint
Dry or tacky gums
A change in the color of the dog’s tongue or gums
When caught early enough, a pet parent can take steps to cool their dog down and rehydrate them. One of the first things they should do is provide them with cool or warm water. Water that’s too cold can cause shock. They can also help rehydrate their dog with petralyte or unflavored Pedialyte.
These drinks contain electrolytes that a dog might lose when dehydrated. If the dog begins vomiting or spitting the water back up, pet parents should bring them to their primary vet right away for treatment and dog health advice.
Pet parents can take steps to avoid dog dehydration and overheating this summer with these dog summer health tips:
Make sure their dog has access to shade wherever they go (dogs can get sunburned, too)
Bring water bowls and plenty of clean water
Never leave the dog in the car
Go for walks early in the morning and late in the day
Include cooling agents as part of a pet first aid kit
Pet parents should also avoid allowing their dogs to walk on hot pavement. They can test the surface using their hand. If it’s too hot, they should use dog boots to protect paw pads or carry their dog where they need to go (if there’s no grass available). Hot pavement can burn the bottoms of a dog’s feet. If pet parents notice their dog limping or holding up a foot, they should check for burns. If they find one, they should schedule a visit with their primary vet.
The summer season brings sunshine, pleasant weather, and plenty of time outdoors. With proper precautions, pet parents can protect their dogs from overheating, dehydration, and other serious dog health issues. That way, everyone can enjoy their time outside.
If pet parents have any dog health questions or concerns, they can reach out the Fuzzy Vet Support Team 24/7. With professional help, pet parents can keep their dogs happy and healthy all year round.