The extreme heat and humid conditions during the summer months in Georgia can be detrimental to your dog. Therefore, it is always important to take care of your dog whenever you're taking her outside to enjoy the sunshine. However, even if your dog remains indoors during the hot days, it is still highly recommended that you take precautions at all times to reduce the chances of your dog suffering from heat strokes and from the dog getting agitated to the point of attacking strangers. Avoiding dog bites is very important because according to AtlantaAdvocate.com a dog bite injury can be devastating and compensation for the victim might be hard to claim.
Taking your dog outdoors for exercise during a hot, humid day, even with water, can lead to your dog becoming overheated leading to heat stroke.
Unlike humans, your dog cannot sweat as easily; he must depend on panting and the skin surface to dispel heat. Once these mechanisms are overwhelmed by the extreme heat, your dog may suffer from heat stroke.
Dogs that are at a greater risk for heat stroke include:
- Puppies nearly six months of age and very old dogs
- Dogs that are overweight
- Overexerted dogs
- Dogs on medication
- Brachycephalic dogs
- Dogs with heart or respiratory disease
According to The Humane Society of the United States, extreme temperatures can result in heatstroke. Some of the signs include:
- Difficulty breathing and heavy panting
- dark red tongue
- a rapid pulse
- Production of excess saliva or saliva thickening
- Glazed eyes
- Anxiety and Dizziness
- Weakness, Lethargy
- Vomiting, Diarrhea
If your dog shows any of these signs, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Meanwhile, try to cool your pet by moving her into the shade, applying wet towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Provide her with cool water to drink or ice cubes to lick.
Here are some great tips to help you keep your pets safe during these hot and humid summer months:
- You shouldn't carry your dog in an open pickup truck since most truck beds are usually dark colors, which could become scorching hot. It is wise leaving your dog at home during hot weather.
- Don't bring your dogs in the car- during the summer months; the temperature inside your car can reach 160 degrees in a short time, even when you're parked in the shade or with partially opened windows. This may cause significant danger to your dog if left in the car.
- Limit outdoor exercise activity-determine when to take your dog outdoors and for how long. Try to avoid mid-morning to mid-afternoon hours since the air is hottest. If you are taking walks, make sure you steer your pets into the shade.
- Since most people and dogs spend more time outdoors during summer, this increases the likelihood of dog bites. Consider spaying or neutering your dog to reduce the chance of biting others and improve her health.
- Ensure your dog always has a collar with an identification tag while going outside. This serves as her ticket home in case you are separated from your pet.
- Consult with your veterinarian to know if your pet should be taking heartworm prevention medication. Heartworm disease, which is spread by mosquitoes, can be fatal to your dog.
- Keep your dog hydrated by providing plenty of water while she's outside so she can stay cool and reduce the likelihood of suffering a heat stroke. You should also provide air conditioning and fans to help your dog remain cool while in the house.
- Always check the humidity levels before going outside with your dog. When humidity levels are high, it becomes difficult for your pet to breathe, hence lacking the proper respiration required to dissipate heat from its body.
- Schedule a check-up -summertime is also when you should be extra careful about fleas and ticks. Consider using only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Regular washes keep fleas and ticks away making your dog comfortable.
- In summer, your dog can get sunburned, especially if her nose is light-colored or has light-colored fur on its ears. You can counter this by applying sunscreen on your dog's nose and ear tips.
- Always keep an eye on your pet while in a pool especially if you are uncertain of her swimming skills. You may also get her a pet life jacket.
- Avoid taking your dog to crowded summer parties. The loud noises and crowds, together with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets. For your pet's well-being, leave her at home.
Enjoy summer, but also be considerate of your pets and what they need to also have a stress free and cool summer.