How to keep your dog cool in the heat
Did you know that dogs sweat very badly? The main way they cool off is by panting. Here are more facts and tips to help your dog manage the heat.
Dangerously high temperatures have been recorded across the United States for much of the summer, with some areas recording temperatures near or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Millions of Americans sought comfort by staying in the shade or in air-conditioned homes and offices, and cooled themselves in fountains, on beaches or cooling centers.
As people find unique ways to keep cool, a spike in Google searches showed that people are also wondering how to keep their dogs cool in the summer.
The VERIFY team went to the experts to find out if some claims about dogs in heat are true.
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WHAT WE FOUND
1. Here are the signs to look for if your dog is suffering from heat or dehydration
A dog can overheat and suffer from dehydration or heat stroke, just like a human. These are some warning signs if your dog is suffering from heat.
Signs of a dehydrated dog include sunken eyes and dry mouth, gums and nose. Poor skin elasticity is another symptom of dehydration, which you can test for by gently tugging the skin on the back of your dog’s neck, according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF).
Overheated dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke or sudden death, warns the AKCCHF. Gasping, followed by disorientation and rapid, noisy breathing may signal overheating. Other possible signs: collapse or convulsions, bright red or blue gums, vomiting and diarrhea.
According to the UK-based company The dog clubwhich is one of the largest dog protection organizations in the world, 1 in 7 dogs taken to the vet for heat stroke dies, but 98% of those treated early survive.
- heavy gasping
- Confusion or loss of coordination
- Drooling or foaming at the mouth
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Shaking or weakness
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
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2. Giving dogs ice cubes is a helpful way to keep them cool on hot days.
A recent copypasta meme posted on Facebook, claiming to be from a veterinarian who lost a dog to heatstroke. Copypasta is Internet slang for a block of text that is repeatedly copied and pasted.
The meme said, “Please don’t give your dogs ice cubes or other frozen items in the heat to cool them down! Ice cubes do not chill dogs!
The post claims that giving dogs ice cubes makes them feel hot because it tricks the brain into believing they are cold. But the Kennel Club says it’s not true.
Giving dogs ice cubes, cold water or frozen treats is a helpful way to help dogs stay cool on hot days, according to the Kennel Club.
The American Kennel Club (AKC), which is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States, says it’s best to fill ice cube trays halfway and then place another treat inside. .
“Once frozen, place a small treat like a blueberry or a piece of freeze-dried liver in the middle of the cube and then fill the rest of the tray with the remaining liquid. Once the whole cube is frozen, a delicious surprise will be waiting for you inside when your dog licks or chews on the ice,” says AKC.
Ice cubes may pose a choking hazard to some dogs. MetLife Pet Insurance Company saysso it’s best to watch your dog while he eats.
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3. Hot pavement can hurt your dog’s feet
Ed Faulkner, DVM, a general practitioner at Weddington Animal Hospital in North Carolina, told VERIFY that it’s important for pet owners to pay attention to the heat index when preparing to walk their dog.
“The first thing I always recommend doing is pay attention to the weather forecast. If they talk tomorrow it will be 95 degrees, don’t take your dog out in the middle of the day. It’s like you would for yourself – early morning activity when it’s still in the 70s for their walk, then late evening activity once it cools down a bit,” Faulkner said. .
“On a day when the heat index is 100 degrees, that sidewalk can go up to 160-170 degrees and ulcerate their pads and create more heat exhaustion, as well as heat stroke issues. So keep it very early in the morning and very late at night,” he said.
Shallowford Animal Hospital, based in Lewisville, North Carolina, says “remember that if the asphalt and cement can get hot enough to cook an egg during the summer or if it’s too hot for you to leave your hands comfortably on the floor for at least 10 seconds, this can lead to nasty burns on your dog’s paw pads.This is especially true if you have a new puppy with tender young paws.
Here are some tips for protecting puppy paws:
- Walk your dog when it’s cool. It also helps strengthen your dog’s paws.
- stay on the grass
- Moisturize your dog’s paws to prevent injuries such as cuts, cracks or peeling with paw wax
- Invest in dog shoes, peel and stick pads, or dog socks to protect against potential burns and injuries.
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4. Dogs sweat between their paws, but it’s not their main way to cool off.
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs have two types of sweat glands: the merocrine glands and the apocrine glands. The merocrine glands work similarly to human sweat glands and are located in the pads of the paws. Apocrine glands are located throughout the body and their main purpose is to release pheromones.
Most dogs are covered in fur, so if their main sweat glands were located on their body, sweat wouldn’t evaporate – and chilling happens when sweat evaporates. This is why it is much more effective for dogs to have sweat glands in their paw pads where there is little fur,” the AKC explains.
The primary way a dog controls its temperature, however, is not through its sweaty paws. It’s panting. When dogs pant, moisture evaporates from their tongue, nasal passages and the lining of their lungs, cooling them as air passes over the moist tissues.
“Dogs are really inefficient at sweating, it’s not their thing to cool off,” Faulkner told VERIFY. “When you [a person] walk outside, you start sweating immediately, they start panting. They cool down thanks to this respiratory operation.