Dogs in the summer heat

by Lorraine Williamson
Dogs can get sunburnt too

Just like humans, pets can overdo it in the sun.  Similar to people with pale white skin – dogs, cats and horses with lighter-coloured fur are at greater risk for getting sunburned. 

Therefore, ensure you pay attention to your pet’s exposed areas, such as around his lips, ears and nose. Apply sunscreen to these areas.

If it is too hot for you…

Dog’s feet burn!   Put your bare foot on the pavement, or sand for 5 seconds.  If it is too hot for you, then it is too hot for your pet.  Their pads could burn and even blister.  To avoid burning, it´s best to walk your dog in the morning or evening.  Dog shoes are a good way protect your dog’s paws if your dog will wear them.   However, not all dogs can get used to them, and some might have a hard time walking in them.

When you are out and about with your pet, make sure you bring plenty of water.  Although most cafes and bars here are very good at having a dog bowl available.

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Dog siesta time

To stop your dog from overheating, keep your pet in the shade during peak sun hours (10am to 4pm).  If they are anything like mine, they will enjoy an extended siesta time!

Heat exhaustion can kill your pet. Never leave a pet alone in a car, even with the windows down. A sunny day can turn a metal car into an oven very quickly. Even if you park in shade, don’t assume it will stay that way.

Some dogs struggle more than others in the heat

Certain breeds experience more discomfort than others when it is hot, such as bulldogs and Pekingese, and those with heart or lung disease, as well as old or overweight animals should be kept out of the heat or indoors in air-conditioning as much as possible.

If you feel your dog is overheating or panting too much, place a cool, wet towel over your pet or put your pet in a cool water bath. Do not use ice because it may hurt his skin.  If your pet’s temperature is over 105F, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

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