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Dogs and Dehydration

Dog-DehydrationThe glorious summer season is upon us! As much as we welcome the sun and fun, it’s important to remember that the rising temperatures can be tough on a dog’s body. Canines easily get overheated - their only way to release body heat is by panting and through a limited number of sweat glands between their toes. Before taking your pup on an outdoor excursion, check out ways to keep your pup well hydrated and cool!

Don’t leave your pet in your vehicle unattended. On a 75-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can climb up to 115 degrees within an hour. Even with the windows down, a dog can easily overheat if left in these conditions. If you need to run errands, leave your pup at home. It is against the law to leave an unattended pet in a car. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Avoid walking on hot surfaces. Your pup’s paws can be as sensitive as the soles of your feet. If the asphalt’s too hot for you to walk on, chances are it’s too hot for your pup too. On a walk, try to alternate between asphalt, sidewalk, and grass so that your dog’s delicate paws don’t get overheated. If your dog is particularly sensitive, cover his paws with pet booties so he can stroll comfortably.

Thirsty? Some dogs get a bit finicky with their water if there’s an odd scent in the bowl or if it’s been warming up in the sun for a while. Keeping a fresh, clean supply of H2O in your dog’s dish will ensure that your pup drinks more often and stays hydrated.

Pup on the Go. Grab a portable bowl and water bottle on your way out the door, so that your pup can drink up, even when you’re on the go.

If it’s > 85 degrees, leave your dog at home. Going to the beach and sitting out all day in the sun is something we humans enjoy, but it can leave pooches severely dehydrated. Even if you feel like the heat is bearable, remember, when dogs are exposed to moderately high temperatures over an extended period of time, their bodies might be unable to cool down.

Time to Play. Simple adjustments to your dog’s daily routine can help keep them from being outside during the hottest hours. Switch walking times to early mornings and evenings; that way your pup still gets the exercise he needs with less risk of overheating. Dogs don’t always know their own limits. If you can tell your dog is breathing more rapidly or having some trouble chasing after a ball, slow things down and allow him to cool off. Outdoor activities are great but, instead of playing in the blazing afternoon sun, try tossing a ball around as the sun is setting.

Chill Out. If it’s really warm, a cooling vest with built in cold packs will ensure your dog is comfortable and cool - even on a long hike.

Sunscreen for pets? Despite their furry coats, dogs can still be exposed to damaging UV rays. Coating their fur and skin in doggy UV protectant/ sunblock will help prevent unnecessary burns.

Go for a Dip. Aside from panting, dogs cool down through the sweat glands in their paws. Standing in a cool pool of water or giving them a quick foot soak can help lower their body temperature. It can also be helpful to put some cold water on your dog’s chest. Using ice cubes directly on your pup's skin down, may lower their core temperature too quickly and constrict blood flow, which will actually inhibit the body from cooling.

Outdoor Shelter. Does your dog like to spend his days in the yard? Whether it’s an awning that he can lie down under or a tree he can rest beneath, make sure your dog has a place to get out of direct sunlight with adequate water within reach.

Click here for Signs of Dehydration

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