Heat Awareness Day

Heat Awareness Day

It’s Heat Awareness Day, and here in Michigan it can get pretty hot during the summer months. Did you know that dogs get overheated very easily? This is because the only ways your pup can release heat is by panting and through a few sweat glands in their paws. We’ve compiled a list of ways to keep your canine friends cool in the summer heat!

First thing’s first - don’t leave your dog in the car unattended. A 75° F day can see the internal temperature of a parked car rise to 115° F within the hour. Even if you leave the windows cracked, your dog will still get overheated.

Avoid walking your dog on hot pavement. Your dog’s paw pads are as sensitive as the soles of our feet. If the sidewalk or pavement you are walking on is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s safe to assume it’s too hot for your dog as well. When you take your dog on walk, alternate between pavement and grass so that your dog’s paws don’t get too hot.

Water, Water, Water! Just like it’s important for you to stay hydrated on hot days, it’s also important for your dog to have a supply of fresh, cool, clean water. Refresh your dog’s water bowl frequently, especially on hot days as warm water may smell funny to your dog and they may not want to drink it. If you are taking your dog out with you, bring a portable water bowl and cold water bottle with you so that your dog can stay hydrated even on the go.

If the temperature outside is over 85° F, don’t bring your dog with you when you go out. Although sitting in the hot sun on the beach all day is fun for us humans, it’s not so fun for our canine friends. They can become severely dehydrated, and when your dog spends extended periods of time in higher temperatures their bodies may have a hard time cooling down. 

Make sure to not over exercise your dog. If you notice your dog is breathing rapidly, or is starting to struggle while playing fetch, slow down and cool off. Playing with your dog outside is always fun but, rather than playing fetch in the blistering mid-day heat, switch walking times and play times to the early mornings and late evenings. This way, your dog can get their play and exercise time without running the risk of overheating. 

Provide your dog with a cool pool of water to stand in. Dogs cool down by panting and through sweat glands in their paws, so standing in a cool pool of water is a great way to soak to their paws and help lower their body temperature. However, do not use ice to cool your dog down. This can lower their body temperature too fast which can restrict blood flow and actually inhibit their body from cooling down. 

Finally, make sure your dog has some kind of outdoor shelter. This can be an awning, a covered porch, a tree, etc., just as long as your dog has a spot they can lay down and rest that is out of any direct sunlight.