Saturday, July 23, 2011

How Are You Handling "Dog Days of Summer" Heat?

Are the Dog Days of Summer getting you down? How about your dog? If the heat bothers you, chances are good it's bothering your beloved dog, too. When we hear about people dying during hot weather, you can be sure there are a lot of dogs dying, too, but we don't hear about it on the news.

How can you help your dog make it through this intense summer? Here are some tips to keep your dog alive:

1. Keep the dog inside your house, especially during the heat of the day. Provide a cool spot in your home if you don't have air conditioning, such as a room with linoleum rather than carpeting. Even a "shady spot" outside may not provide enough cooling for a dog.

2. Be sure there is always clean, cool water...always!

3. Never leave your dog inside a car...not even for "just a minute." It can literally become an oven in there, within just a few moments. If you see a dog inside someone else's car, and you can't get hold of the owner (or if they refuse to do anything) call the police. It could mean the difference between life and death.

4. Help your dog cool off with frozen treats, such as a frozen Kong toy with peanut butter in it, or simply put ice cubes into his water bowl. You can also wet a bandana to wrap around his neck. But it will need to be wetted frequently if the heat dries it out too fast.

5. If your dog shows signs of heat stroke or exhaustion, run, don't walk, to the veterinarian.

Signs of heat stroke may include anxiety, rapid panting, excessive drooling and weakness. The gums may be bright red in the early stages, but if he goes into shock, they will become pale.

If he's outside, just pour cool water over the back of the head, then keep his head and belly areas cool on your way to the vet's office. Frozen cold packs are good, if you have any. If he has collapsed, he will need special medical care to make it.