Our canine friends do not have one very specific mechanism that will allow them to regulate their body temperatures as efficiently as we do ours. When dogs’ internal body temperatures rise, they don’t have an extensive sweat mechanism that will allow them to release heat. That is why they pant. Unfortunately, if the environmental temperatures are way too high, even vigorous panting may not be enough to keep your dog safe from heat stroke. That’s why you should also know how to help your dogs so they don’t unnecessarily suffer from sunstroke. Here are 5 tips to prevent sunstroke in your dog.
Keep Your Dog’s Fur Short, But Not Too Short
Unless you have a pooch that already has naturally short fur, it is imperative that you keep your pet’s coat short to allow for drafts to work their way onto the skin. Also, you can dampen its coat especially on its belly and on its back to provide a more effective cooling comfort. Don’t dry this with a towel though. You only need to leave it as it is and allow it to dry naturally. This will keep your pooch feeling cool until the dampness has completely dried up. While trimming your dog’s fur will help it stay cool during the summer, making it too short will also expose your pet to sunburn and increased risk of skin irritation. An inch of fur should be fine.
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Water, Water, and More Water
Giving more water to your pet will also help prevent sunstroke. The idea is to get as many water bowls you can and place them in strategic areas of your house, preferably in areas where your dog usually ventures in. This way it doesn’t have to run all the way to your kitchen just to drink from its bowl. Having a pet drinking fountain really helps since the natural splashing of the water plus the movement it creates somehow awaken the natural predatory instincts in dogs so they will be more enticed to ‘check out’ the fountain to see if there is prey in there.
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Avoid Walking in the Daytime
The good thing about summer is that the days are relatively shorter than the nights. Avoid walking your pooch during the day since the heat from the sun’s rays can be so extreme that it can also heat the pavement, leading to potential burn injuries to your pet’s paw pads. So if you’re going to walk your dog, make sure that you do it very early in the morning or very early in the evening. And if you have safety devices for both you and your pooch, a nighttime walk should also be great. Whether it is walking mornings, evenings, or night it is still critical to bring with you a bottle of water for both you and your pet.
Provide a Cool Area in Your Home Accessible to Your Pooch
If you can confine your pooch inside your house, then this would be best. However, do understand that even if you keep it from going outside your home interior will still be quite hot. Specialty dog beds can help such as those that are elevated. Cooling dog bandanas, dog cool mats, and cooling jackets can also help. If you allow them to go outside in your backyard, make sure that they have a cool, shaded place to stay. Some owners actually provide a paddling pool for their respective pooches or even install a sprinkler system that can turn on at specific intervals. The point is to find a spot in your house which your pooch can go to night or day to help regulate its body temperature and keep it cool.
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Never Ever Leave Your Canine Friend in Your Parked Car
Some dog owners leave their dogs in their cars parked under the scorching heat of the sun, thinking that they will only be away for five minutes. Unfortunately, because dogs have an inefficient thermoregulation mechanism, these 5 minutes can already cause irreparable damage to their body organs. Here’s the thing: even if the outside temperature registers at 72°F, inside your car is a different story. Stanford University tests showed that it can reach 116°F inside your car within an hour. A dog’s body requires 101 to 102.5°F for optimum functioning. So leave your pooch at home instead and provide it with lots of water if you really have to go out.
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