With summer on its way we are looking forward to more outdoor activity with our dogs, but what can we do to keep them safe?

Be aware of the signs of heatstroke.  A dog with heatstroke will show several signs including rapid panting with a bright red, and sometimes swollen tongue, red or pale gums, thick, sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, shock, or coma.

If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, check his temperature rectally.  It should be between 100 and 102.5 F.  A dog with a body temperature over 104 is suffering from moderate heat stroke.  Dogs with temperatures over 106 are suffering from acute heatstroke and MUST be transported to the vet immediately.

To treat heatstroke begin cooling your dog by wetting him thoroughly with cool, not cold water.  Offer him cool water to drink.  DO NOT USE ICECUBES OR VERY COLD WATER.  Check his temperature frequently and dry him off once his temperature lowers to 103.  Keep him covered so his temperature does not drop suddenly causing further complications. Even dogs with moderate heatstroke should go see the vet as soon as is possible to check for secondary problems such as dehydration or organ damage

How do I prevent heat stroke?

Make sure your pet is healthy enough for vigorous exercise.  Dogs with short muzzles and heart conditions should be kept in the shade and offered cool water frequently.

Do not leave your pet alone  in a parked car.  Even in the shade the internal temperature of the car can spike quickly and reach temperatures in excess of 140 degrees.

Make sure dogs kept outside have access to shade and water. If they are tethered, make sure the tether cannot become tangled.

In temperatures over 95 degrees, limit excise and take frequent brakes for water and shade.

If you use a muzzle, make sure your dog can pant freely while wearing it.  Basket muzzles work best for this.

Keep your dog off of asphalt and concrete as much as possible as these surfaces tend to heat quickly and radiate heat from below.

Make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool water, swimming is a great hot weather activity, and if you don’t have access to a dog pool, kiddie pools make great cooling places for a dog to lie-down.

Remember that dogs like conditions to be cooler than we do, so keep the air conditioning on durring the day!