Forecasters predict temperatures to soar in the Seattle area and other parts of the US this week. Here are some tips you can use to protect your dog in the hot weather.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR!
I know, I know.
Dog owners have been told a bazillion times not to leave their dogs in their cars in hot weather.
But it still happens.
Every year, the Seattle Animal Shelter responds to hundreds of reports of dogs left in hot cars.
On a 70-degree day, cars left in the sun can turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of more than 100 degrees within a few minutes.
Temperatures are predicted to be in the high 80s/low 90s this week in Seattle. Consequently, the temperature in your car soar to 130-140 degrees in about 20 minutes.
During last summer’s heat wave, Seattle Animal Shelter Director Ann Graves said, “Even if the ambient temperature is cool, studies have shown it’s a sunny day that can cause a car’s interior temperature to rise by an average of 40 degrees within an hour.”
And parking in the shade doesn’t solve the problem.
Director Graves noted that “when the day starts out overcast and cool, pet owners sometimes have a false sense of safety.”
She also said that “an overcast day can turn to a sunny day in the blink of an eye, and cars will get hot, very fast – and cracking the windows doesn’t help. It’s not worth the risk to leave your pet in a vehicle, on overcast days and especially sunny ones.”
A Washington state law passed in 2016 makes it a violation to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle or enclosed space if the animal “could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat or cold, lack of ventilation or lack of water.”
The shelter’s humane law enforcement officers will utilize all means necessary, including breaking the car windows, to access vehicles to remove animals in danger.
PROTECT YOUR DOG’S PAWS FROM HOT PAVEMENT
One thing dog owners often overlook is protecting their dogs’ foot pads during searing heat waves.
A dog’s paw pads are particularly vulnerable to hot surfaces.
Sidewalks, pavement, and especially black asphalt can quickly reach blistering temperatures in direct sunlight and cause nasty burns on your dog’s feet.
Signs of burned foot pads include:
- Limping or refusing to walk
- Holding up a paw
- Foot pads appearing darker in color than usual
- Raw, red or blistered foot pads
- Licking or chewing on the feet
How to Protect Paw Pads from Hot Pavement
- Walk your dog earlier or later in the day when temperatures are lower
- Walk on grassy paths or shady areas; public parks are a good option
- Use dog booties
- Keep dogs off pavement after water exposure – foot pads softened from prolonged water exposure can burn more easily.
Here’s quick test you can do to determine if pavement/asphalt can burn your dog’s feet: Press the back of your hand firmly on the pavement for seven seconds. If it burns your hand, the surface is hot enough to damage your dog’s paws.
WATCH YOUR DOG FOR SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE
Humans sweat in hot weather to regulate their body temperature. Dogs can’t sweat, so they reduce high body temperature only by panting and through sweat glands in their feet.
Because dogs can’t cool themselves as efficiently as humans, they are more susceptible to heat stroke in hot weather. This means your dog can suffer from heat stroke even if you don’t feel overheated.
Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs
- Heavy panting
- Excessive drooling
- Increased body temperature (over 103 degrees F)
- Reddened gums or tongue
- Rapid heartbeat
- Vomiting & diarrhea
If you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke, the first thing you should do is get it out of the heat immediately.
How to Treat Heat Stroke in Dogs
- Put your dog in the bath tub.
- Run a cool (not cold) shower over your pet, covering the whole body — especially the back of the head and neck.
- Allow the water to fill up the bathtub as you shower the dog. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
- If getting the dog into the tub is impractical, use a garden hose to cool the dog or place him in a pool of cool water.
- Apply a cold pack to the dog’s head to help lower his body temperature — a packet of frozen vegetables works fine.
- Massage the legs. A vigorous rubbings helps the dog’s circulation and reduces the risks of shock.
- Let the dog drink as much cool or cold water as it wants. Adding a pinch of salt to the water bowl will help the dog replace the minerals it lost through panting. (from PetMD.com).
Once your dog is stabilized, take it to a veterinarian or animal hospital IMMEDIATELY.
Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with short noses) have more difficulty breathing are more prone to heat stroke. Brachycephalic breeds include: French and English Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Boxers.
Overweight dogs, sick dogs, dogs with heavy coats, can overheat more easily.
One last thing – houses without air conditioning can get extremely hot. If you have to leave your dog at home when it’s hot, keep them cool by pulling down shades, leaving some windows open, setting up some fans, and leaving out plenty of water (put lots of ice in it when you leave).