Every year the same thing happens: the days are getting hotter and hotter, until the only thing you can think of is throwing yourself into a pool with ice cold water, or sitting somewhere with a bottle of cold beer (or lemonade, depending on your age).
Since it happens every Summer, we have become accustomed to fighting with hot weather once in a while. We know how to avoid sunstroke, sunburn, etc.
However, have you ever thought how difficult it can be for your dog during the Summer? Some people might be asking: Does the weather even affect them? The answer is yes, and in more ways than you may think.
If you want to find out exactly how hot weather affects your dog, just keep reading…
Dog’s Behaviour During Hot Weather
Truth be told, there is not one specific answer to how your dog’s behavior can change during hot weather — it’s just like with humans. Some people love summer days, and they become more energetic and full of life when it’s sunny outside, while others get super tired and even feel nauseous. The same thing happens with dogs.
Some dogs are less active during hot months than others. They are not as willing to go on walks or exercise as they would be if the temperature was lower. Instead, they may lie on a cool tile or somewhere close to an airflow source. Keep in mind that sometimes your puppy might behave this way because he is not used to hot weather. Once his body becomes accustomed to it, your pup will go back to being the ball of energy you know.
Interestingly, research has found that as the heat rises, so does the frequency of dog bites. So, if you notice your dog getting moody during hot weather, you might want to keep an eye on him, especially when he encounters children, strangers, and other dogs. Remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
How To Keep Your Dog Safe During Hot Weather
The most important thing you can do to help your dog get through hot weather is to keep him hydrated. As experts from My Sweet Puppy say, “A good rule to go by on days with minimal activity is an ounce of water per pound of body weight. Example: An eight pound puppy should drink, at minimum, eight ounces of water every day.”
When taking him on a walk, you need to keep in mind that the asphalt can be very hot during summer months, to the point where it can burn your dog’s pads, making him suffer from pain for days. That’s why it’s better to go on shorter walks in the morning or the evening, rather than in the middle of the day when it’s super hot outside.
You can easily check if the pavement is too hot for your furry friend by putting one of your hands on it. If you cannot hold it there for more than 3 seconds, it means that it is probably too hot for him to walk on. When going on a walk, always bring a bottle of water and a bowl, because as it was stated above: hydration is crucial.
Another thing worth considering is seasonal grooming, which will make your dog feel more comfortable. If you decide to shave your dog’s fur completely, his skin will be unprotected against the sun. In this case, you might want to consult a vet, as your furry (or actually not so furry anymore) friend might need a special sunscreen. Vet-approved sunscreen is also a good choice for dogs that have bald patches.
If you don’t keep your dog cool during hot days, he might suffer from heat stroke, which is a health condition that can have severe consequences for your pup.
Heat Stroke – Danger to Look Out For
While heat stroke can happen to any dog, very young puppies and older dogs, as well as obese, long-haired, or dark-haired pups are slightly more at risk. One of the most common causes of heat stroke, or hyperthermia as it is professionally called, is leaving your dog in a car without ventilation, as the temperature inside of the car can rise rapidly within minutes.
Generally speaking, if your pup’s body temperature exceeds 39.4 degrees Celcius (103 degrees Fahrenheit), it is considered as abnormal or hyperthermic. Temperatures over 41.2 Celcius (106 Fahrenheit) are considered critical, as it is when multiple organs fail and, in many cases, lead to death.
So what can be done if you notice a dog with hypothermia? The most important thing is a controlled reduction of body temperature with cool water poured over the head, stomach, armpits, and feet, or a cool cloth placed in the same areas. Ice would also help; you can place it around the dog’s mouth and anus.
If the temperature rise wasn’t that high, the dog will probably recover quickly without any complications. However, keep in mind that for some dogs, heat stroke might end with organ damage, or they might die later on because of the complications they develop as a result of the hyperthermia.
As you can see, hot weather affects your dog more than you might have thought, which is why it is essential to protect your four-legged friend during the Summer. If one day, while taking a walk, you see a dog stuck in a car with no AC on, try to help if you can. Who knows, maybe by doing something as simple as talking to the owner can save a dog’s life.