As summer days are warming up, here is a good reminder to keeping your furry friends safe when jogging or walking or just spending long periods of time outdoors.
"Most people enjoy soaking up some sun, but the heat can take a toll on you and your pet," Carolynn MacAllister, a veterinarian from Oklahoma State University, said in a statement released Monday. "Heat exhaustion is just as dangerous for animals as it is for humans."
Take your pooch for a walk or a run during the coolest part of the day, but leave him or her at home if it is humid. "Dogs don't sweat the way humans do," she adds. "They rely on panting to cool themselves." That means leaving him or her in a cool, well ventilated space, not a car or garage, since the animal can quickly suffer from heat stress or heat exhaustion.
Excessive panting, staggering, and vomiting are some signs of heat stress in dogs. If you see this happening, use a sponge to apply cool water to your pet's neck and groin to lower internal temperatures. Call your veterinarian immediately about additional treatment.
MacAllister notes that short haircuts may actually put dogs at greater risk for heat-related problems. Fur helps protect skin from sunburn, and some breeds have fur that traps cooler air closer to the skin.
"I don't recommend across-the-board clipping of dogs, but those animals that have a heavy thick coat may need to have their hair coat trimmed," she said. "Talk to your veterinarian about what kind of clip would be beneficial."