Protect Your Pooch

Family Health
on August 1, 2009

You've heard of the "dog days of summer"? Well, some of us take the saying literally — we want to go everywhere with our four-legged companions. But when temperatures are soaring, it may be better for Fido to cool his heels (er, pads?) at home.

If your dog gets too hot, she could succumb to heatstroke and may not recover. Symptoms include increased heart rate, labored breathing, weakness and even seizures and coma. If you suspect your dog is on the verge of heatstroke, quickly cool her off with water from a hose or cover him with wet towels. Then get to the veterinary hospital — stat. The earlier heatstroke is treated, the more likely Fido is to recover.

That's advice you may never have to use — if you follow these pointers:

  • Exercise your dog early in the morning or during evening hours.
  • Allow for rest and water breaks during play and exercise. Your dog may not know her limits.
  • Keep your dog indoors, ideally in air conditioning, on very hot days.
  • Be sure dogs left outside have plenty of shade and access to a sprinkler, pool or sand pit soaked with water.
  • Never leave your pooch inside the car on warm days. Even with the windows down, car temperatures can rise to 120 degrees.
Found in: Family Health