Keeping Cool in Summer

July 01, 2020 | 2:09 PM

With the Philadelphia winter weather finally behind us, what a better way to kick off summer then some fun in the sun with your number one adventure partner? As we finally say goodbye to the snow, clouds, and mild-spring weather, it’s important to be aware of the risks the heat can bring about on our prowling pups.

Heat stroke is common in dogs and it’s vital to be aware of the signs as prompt recognition and treatment are important. While brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds and overweight pets are most at risk, any pooch that overexerts themselves or spends prolonged time in warm weather are at risk. Unlike humans, canine’s primary heat dissipation method is panting. While it may look like our pups are having fun with their toothy grins and #tonguesouttuesday look, it can also be an early sign of heat stroke. Additional clinical signs include more severe symptoms such as neurologic dysfunction, staggering, tremors and even shock. Progression of heat stroke can lead to cardiovascular collapse and even organ failure if not promptly treated. 

While heat stroke is a serious condition, it is avoidable. These helpful tips and tricks will help your four-legged friend make the most of their spring and summer season.

1. Provide fresh, cool water

While most pet owners remember this one, it is often challenging to keep water temperature cool. And remember to offer it often! There are various products on the market, from collapsible bowls to reusable bottles that are designed with pups in mind! Ensure your furry friend stays hydrated.

2. Kick back in the shade

A nice shady tree in the park following a game of fetch is perfect to help your best friend cool down. Research shows humans and pets will feel up to 10-15 degrees cooler in the same temperature climate by being in the shade versus direct sunlight. So, find a hammock or a tree, kick up your feet and take a load off!

3. Ensure cooled surfaces

As the weather heats up, being mindful of hot asphalt is crucial for pet parents. Taking the simple precaution, such as feeling the ground with the back of your hand for 7 seconds, will ensure it is an adequate temperature for the pads of your pup. 

4. Avoid humid/ poorly ventilated areas

While there is nothing more beautiful than a green house in the early spring or even better when there is a beer garden in that green house (Harper’s Garden – 18th Street), the humidity and heat combination may not be a great idea for your dog. Humidity amplifies the temperature outside and makes it hard for our pets to dissipate heat so consider having a cold one without your canine!  

5. Don’t over-do it

Just like us, we don’t lose our winter bodies overnight! Consider stepping back into an exercise routine slowly with your pet to ensure they do not overexert themselves. Gradual stepwise exercise and the prompt identification of signs your pet has had enough will be the best prevention of heat stroke!

With the help of these tips, you and your pup will be sure to spring into spring! Any questions, check with your veterinarian.