Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun

Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun
The Big Dogs Wait at The Door

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dog Care for the Dog Days

August, the dog days of summer, time to take special care with our canine companions. Remember, dogs overheat MUCH faster than their humans! In August heat, they rapidly become dehydrated, so please, everyone TAKE WATER AND A VESSEL TO DRINK FROM WHEN YOU'RE OUT WITH YOUR DOG! This summer, as usual, we have had news of many accidental deaths from the heat. A dog officer who didn't check her kennel for a whole weekend. A veterinarian whose overnight kenneling facility was insufficiently air conditioned. And on and on. There have been incidences this summer of dogs dying in closed cars in a matter of MINUTES. It's hard to believe but it's true. They go into shock, their systems shut down, and they die. It only take s a few minutes in 90 degree weather for the inside of a previously air conditioned car to heat up to 200 degrees or more. For creatures with fur coats that means instant hyperthermia, heat shock.

If you see an animal in a closed car when it's over 70 degrees outside, report the situation to your local police immediately so they can find the owner and/or forcibly open the vehicle. Symptoms of hyperthermia are rapid, shallow breathing, disorientation, staggering, seizures, lethargy, and weakness. If you're witha dog who has overheated, immerse him or her in cool (NOT COLD) water immediately. If that's not possible, put cool, wet towels or fabric under the dog's arms and in his/her groin, and then cover the dog with a wet towel or blanket. And get him or her to a veterinarian immediately.

Here are some hot weather tips from the MASS SPCA:
  • Keep pets at home vs taking them in the car.
  • Exercise them early in the morning or later at night.
  • Make sure they have plenty of fresh water. Rinse and refill at least daily.
  • Leave pets in air conditioned spaces or use fans to keep them cool.
  • Be sure window screens are strong and tight to prevent accidental escapes.
  • Think twice before taking your dog to the beach unless it's early morning or late evening.
  • Remember that breeds with short noses, like bulldogs, boxers and pugs can have extra trouble breathing in hot weather. Never exercise them in the heat of the day.