Keep your dog safe from summer heat

Published 8:46 am Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Mississippi summers are tough on humans, but can be tougher on our furry friends. Can you imagine putting on a heavy fur coat before going out for a long on a 95-degree day?  Or what about going bare foot for a long walk on scorching asphalt. Dogs need our help to weather the hot, humid days safely.

Dogs who spend most of their day in air conditioning are not prepared to take the heat like the dogs who are always outside. They are not acclimated to the summer heat and humidity, and need our care to make sure they don’t over heat when they are with us outside.

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Dog’s cool off by panting, while we cool off by sweating. There is only so much panting can do to cool your pet on a high humidity summertime day. Panting seems so strange as a way to cool down. It works by using the evaporation of moisture from a dog’s mouth and tongue to exchange the hot air in their lungs with cooler external air to cool their bodies. 

Short nosed dogs like bulldogs and pugs have a harder time in the heat than other dogs. Even longer nosed dogs can pant like a freight train in the summer heat and take a long time to cool off. Watch your dog’s panting, and make sure to stop and rest when your dog is panting too rapidly.

Make sure walks with your dog are early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day. Throwing the ball for dogs who like to retrieve is a fun activity, but make sure not to overdue it in the summer heat.

And a reminder, never leave your dog locked in a car – as the temperature can rise to dangerous levels in just a few minutes. Even if it is 75 degrees outside, the temperature can rise 15 degrees in a few minutes.

This is the south, and some people still have dogs that live only outside. Outside dogs need plenty of shade, shelter from rain and plenty of cool water. Large trees and bushes do lower the temperature. Larger water buckets or plastic baby swimming pools can also provide a place for dogs to put their feet in and get cool.