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Hot Weather Safety Tips for Dogs

Thursday September 10, 2020

A black Lab lays happily in a pink plastic pool on a hot day.

We're officially in the Dog Days of Summer. With extremely high temperatures across the country, it is important to keep hot weather safety in mind to keep the pups in your home safe this summer. Here are some hot weather safety tips for dogs from GDB Medical Director, Dr. Kate Kuzminski:

Plan your travel activities for cooler parts of the day. Before 10 am and after 6 pm is a better choice than traveling at midday. Dogs can get dehydrated quickly in hot and humid weather so provide regular rest breaks, keep a collapsible water bowl with you, and offer fresh water often. Remember that older dogs may tire easily in hot weather and will need extra time to cool off and rest.

Hot concrete, asphalt, and even sand can burn a dog’s feet. On a sunny 77° F day, asphalt can reach 125° F. This can jump to 143° F in 87° F weather. If you can't hold the palm of your hand on the asphalt for five seconds, then it is also too hot for a dog’s feet. If you need to travel in hot weather, consider investing in dog booties that will protect their feet in hot weather.

Never leave a dog unattended in a car when temperatures rise above 70° F. Even when a car is parked in the shade and the windows are cracked slightly open, the temperature within a car can reach intolerable and deadly temperatures for a dog quickly.

If a dog does get overheated, move into a shaded or air-conditioned area. Apply cool damp towels to your dog’s head, neck, and chest, and soak their paws in cool (not cold) water. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water. Excessive panting, weakness drooling, vomiting, or bloody stool, are symptoms of heat stroke in dogs. If your dog is showing these signs, transport them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Beware of toxic blue-green algae. This often appears in late summer and early fall as a thick scum on the surface of stagnant water. Algal blooms often produce an attractive odor to dogs so they often want to play in this water and can ingest the algae. Clinical signs such as vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and paralysis develop rapidly after exposure and require emergency veterinary treatment. Keep your dog away from stagnant water at this time of year!

Don’t leave dogs unattended around water. Not all dogs know how to swim and should be supervised at all times around bodies of water.  Swimming pools also present unique safety concerns for dog lovers:  While the amount of chlorine in swimming pool water may not cause issues if your dog drinks it from time to time, the chlorine pool tablets may be a different story. Keep all pool chemicals in a safe place where there is no risk your dog will ingest them.

If you have a senior dog or a pet in poor health and you are concerned about keeping them safe during hot weather events, please contact your veterinarian to discuss plans to keep them safe. If you have a guide dog or are raising a guide dog puppy in training, and have questions about how to keep your dog safe, please contact GDB's Support Center or your Field Manager for more specific advise. 

    Categories: Dog Care & Health