As summer temperatures rise in Pickaway County and central Ohio, it is now more important than ever to make sure we are taking measures to keep our pets cool and safe. Dogs no longer only inhabit their areas of origin, but are spread worldwide. Especially for dogs more naturally equipped to be in cold climates, such as Siberian huskies, great Pyrenees or Bernese mountain dogs, summer can not only be uncomfortable; it can be downright dangerous.
Large cold-adapted breeds such as those above are not the only dogs who suffer during the hot summer months. Brachycephalic breeds or breeds with compressed faces such as pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs, and older dogs of any breed have difficulty regulating body temperature. Dogs do not have sweat glands and can only release their heat by panting and through their paws, making it extra difficult for them to cool down during the heat.
All breeds of dogs can fall victim to poor care from owners during the heat. There has been a massive rise in reported canine fatalities from owners leaving their pets in parked vehicles or backyards during the summer. Here is a list of five ways to keep your dog cool and happy during the summer months in Pickaway County or wherever you may be.
Five Ways To Keep Your Dog Cool:
1) Keep Your Dog At Home While You Are Out
It may seem like the few minutes it will take you to run into the bank, grocery store or pick up a cup of coffee at Joyhouse Coffee or Scioto Valley Coffee won’t harm your dog, but it can have fatal consequences. Less than 10 minutes in a hot parked car can be fatal for a dog, a risk no one should be willing to make. Simply leaving your pet at home with access to water and a cool sleeping spot can save their life.
2) Exercise Your Pet During The Coolest Hours Of The Day
Dogs can suffer heatstroke quickly from overexercising; many enthusiastic and high-energy breeds will not know their limits in the heat. Do not exercise your pet outdoors for extended periods when it is uncomfortably hot. You may not be able to notice how quickly your dog can get heatstroke. Instead, either exercise your pet indoors if a fan and space are available, or take your pet outside in the early morning or the late evening.
3) Protect Your Dog’s Paw Pads
When walking your dog in your neighborhood, in downtown Circleville, at any of the Pickaway County parks or anywhere there is pavement, always make sure to make sure it’s not too hot. If your hand cannot comfortably touch the pavement or sidewalk, it is too hot for your dog to walk on. Hot pavements can cause severe burning of your dog’s paw pads that will end up in a very long and uncomfortable healing process for your dog. It is a great idea to look into getting your dog a set of hot weather dog shoes before the heat sets in to make sure they are comfortable walking in them and ensure they will be safe.
4) Water and Rest
Like humans, many dogs will not want to exercise or go outside during a severe heatwave. While some dogs adapted to heat or those with extremely high energy levels may still seek out the backyard, many will want to curl up in the basement and sleep. It is much more beneficial to your pet to leave them where they are happy rather than dragging them out of the house to go on a run or hike with you. Provide your dog with plenty of water, shade, and AC or a fan, and they will thank you on those hot days.
5) Look For Signs of Heatstroke
If the heat hits a sudden high before you get back from your walk or trip to the lake, give your pet lots of water and try to get home as soon as possible. While your pet is cooling down, they may want to escape to another part of your house. Make sure you keep an eye on your pet to ensure that you can take them to the vet as soon as possible if they do have heatstroke. The most common signs of heatstroke are exaggerated panting, vomiting, erratic or rapid pulse, salivation, weakness or lack of coordination, anxiousness, and collapse.
The summer months in Pickaway County are hot and vary from year to year, but pet owners must take responsibility for their dogs’ wellbeing in the heat and take all the necessary precautions and aftercare. Dogs contribute massively to their owner’s mental health and happiness; taking care of them in the heat is the least we can do.