How to keep your dog safe & cool this summer

Don’t know about y’all, but down here at ThunderWorks’ HQ in Raleigh, NC it is already up to a sweltering 95 degrees out and we’ve still got a few months of summer left. Now, imagine wearing a fur coat every time you walked out your door…That’s what your dog is dealing with while you're shooting down your slippin’ slide. So, how do you keep your dog cool on a hot day? We’ve got some helpful tips! Check ‘em out:

#1 Never leave your pets in a parked car
It can get to over 120 degrees in a parked car, even if it’s only 85 degrees outside. Even with the air conditioner on, leaving your pet in a car can be dangerous or even fatal. After just 15 minutes, your dog could start overheating. After 30 minutes, your dog could suffer brain damage, irreversible organ damage, seizures, or may die. Try leaving your dog at home, having a friend or family member watch them while you’re out, or visiting dog-friendly restaurants and stores.

Lots of places are dog-friendly these days. Here’s a short list:

  • Lowe’s
  • Home Depot
  • Pottery Barn
  • Macy’s
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Barnes and Noble
  • LUSH Cosmetics
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Gap
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Anthropologie
  • Free People
  • Foot Locker
  • Bebe
  • Nordstrom
  • Old Navy
  • Saks Fifth Avenue

You can find even more stores and restaurants near you that allow dogs at BringFido.com.  

#2 Watch the humidity
Our friends at the Humane Society of the United States say “it’s important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet.” According to Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”

#3 Take your dog’s temperature
If you think your dog is overheating, you can take his temperature to tell you if there is a serious problem. It should never get over 104 degrees. If it does, you can follow these instructions from the Humane Society for treating heat stroke. Common signs to watch for are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

#4 Limit exercise on hot days
Avoid being outside during the hottest parts of the day and limit the intensity and duration of exercise at those times. Asphalt can burn your dog’s paws and pets with white-colored ears and fur are more prone to getting skin-cancer (try applying sunscreen to your dog’s fur and skin for extra protection against harmful UV rays). Simple adjustments like walking earlier in the morning or in the evenings, can help your dog a lot.

#5 Cool your dog down quickly with a pool of water
Dogs actually sweat through their feet (who knew? Well, we did, that’s who). Fans blowing air don’t work as well for dogs as they do for people. Try applying cooled towels to their head, and offer small amounts of cold water. For maximum cooling, let them stand in a pool of water and soak their feet. As intuitive as it may seem, don’t use ice though. It can actually cool them off too fast and constrict their blood flow.

#6 Provide ample shade
A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse. Instead, make sure your dog has shelter from the sun in a more open space in your yard. It could be under a tree, using a tarp, or awning. The more open-air, the better.

#7 Try frozen treats
Pop some peanut butter, wet dog food, or even treats in the freezer or fridge for a nice snack to keep your dog cool inside the house, his kennel, or outdoors.

#8 Watch for signs of dehydration
Other than just panting, dogs can show several signs that they need water you may not even notice. Here’s a quick list:

  • Eyes appear sunken
  • Back is warm to the touch
  • Mouth is dry with thick saliva
  • Head is visibly tired or lowered
  • Skin lacks elasticity
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
  • Feet are unstable
  • Urine is dark or discolored

We hope these tips help you keep your furry friend cool, and most importantly SAFE this summer!

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