Hot weather is fully upon us, and also our four-legged friends.
Just like in humans, intense heat can present potentially serious medical problems for canines. And unlike people, pets can’t easily communicate their discomfort.
Dr. Lexi Becker, a veterinarian with The Animal Hospital in Slingerlands, said signs a dog is being affected by the heat include heavy panting or drooling. She added if symptoms progress, the dog can also have a wobbly gait (walking crooked), vomiting or diarrhea.
“One of the biggest risk factors is when pet owners exercise with their dogs in the hotter part of the day. They won’t realize they’re in trouble until its real big trouble … if your dog is experiencing any signs (of heat distress) it is always best to have him checked by a veterinarian,” said Becker. She added that exercising your dog in the cooler parts of the day like the morning is best.
When it comes to keeping dogs cool during the summer, there are a few things to keep in mind. Just being outdoors on a hot day is one of them.
“Overall, be smart. If it’s too hot for us to go out and runaround (it is for them too),” said Dr. Tara Estra of Canterbury Animal Hospital in Delmar.
Certain breeds at higher risk for developing problems from the heat are the short-nosed breeds like Boston terriers, boxers and bulldogs. According to Dr. Eric Anderson with the Ballston Spa Veterinary Clinic, these breeds are more susceptible because they don’t move air as efficiently as other breeds and tend to be overweight.
Cooling down a dog may seem simple, but there are precautions to take here as well.
Estra said many longhaired breeds can have their hair clipped in summer, though that may affect the fur’s regrowth. When you opt to cool down your pooch with water, Becker offers, “Use cool water but not cold water, you can actually make the situation a lot worse if you cool them down too quickly. …You’ll want to use any type of water where you can regulate the temperature.”