Summer is good period for you and your dog to spend time outdoors exercising and having fun. But it is important to understand that high environment temperatures can be dangerous, too, and you must keep your dog cool. These views were expressed by Dr C S Randhawa, HoD, Veterinary Medicine Department of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana.
He said that the most common problems during hot weather are heat stroke and dehydration. Any dog exercising on a hot, humid day, even with plenty of water, can become overheated. Take your dog for walk during cool hours of the day. It is more common with black coloured dogs or with long hair coat pets. One of the common situations of dogs becoming sick is because they are left in car in hot summer days. Even if the weather outside is not extremely hot, the temperature inside of the car acts like an oven. Temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes, even with partially open windows.
The dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. When a dog is exposed to high temperatures, heat stroke or heat exhaustion can result. Human beings invariably sweat to cool down. However, a dog cannot sweat and it losses heat by panting. Dogs breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, directing the air over the mucous membranes of the tongue, throat and trachea to facilitate cooling by evaporation of fluid. The dog also dissipates heat by dilation of the blood vessels in the surface of the skin in the face, ears and feet.
If body temperature of a dog rises to 105 or 1060F, the dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. It damage to the body’s cellular system and organs may become irreversible. Once the signs of heat stroke are detected, there is precious little time before serious damage – or even death – can occur. Heat stroke is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Do not take your dog for walk on hot surface, otherwise it can cause burns on foot pads.
He suggested some remedies that never leave your dog alone in the car. Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, opt for shady areas. Keep fresh cool water available in a shady place at all times. Certain types of dogs are more sensitive to heat. Use extreme caution when these dogs are exposed to heat. Many dogs enjoy playing and lounging in the cool water. Providing them with tub or kiddie pool or running a sprinkler can be a good option.
Dr Randhawa said that keep an eye on your dog always. This period is very congenial for the growth and activity of external parasites like ticks and fleas. Many of these can transmit or cause diseases. Consult veterinarian to keep your dog free from these parasites. You should also consider clipping in dogs with long hair coat to reduce heat stress.