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Protecting Your Dog from Scorching Heat

by Luella May

(The Best Years in Life) Summers can often be hot and dry in much of the country, with very little rain or other relief and plenty of advisories to stay indoors.  Such heat can literally suck the life out of you the same way it does to the parched ground and withering plants - and it can do so for animals as well as humans, especially dogs which are normally kept outdoors.   As we head into Labor Day, often the hottest time of the year, it is important to protect our beloved pets from the soaring temperatures.

Dogs should be kept indoors during times of excessive heat. When left outside, dogs should have proper protection from the heat and plenty of fresh, cool water. It is important to note that doghouses do not provide protection from heat, especially if they are exposed to the sun.

Following are tips to protect your dog from the hazards of heat exposure:

*Do not leave your pet in a parked car, not even if you feel that the errand will be of a short duration. Temperatures in vehicles can soar to dangerous levels in no time at all.

*Make sure your pet has shade and plenty of cool water. Putting ice in your dog's water is a refreshing treat. A number of products can help to keep your pet cool, such as cooling collars, cooling mats, bandanas, jackets, and misters.

*Limit exercise. On hot days, dogs should be walked in the early morning and late evening. Avoid strenuous play such as running and playing fetch. It is important to keep in mind that dogs should not be walked on concrete or asphalt during excessive heat. Hot pavement can burn and blister a dog's paws. If it's too hot for our bare feet, it is too hot for our pet's paws.

Leaving a dog outdoors in excessive heat for prolonged periods of time can be life threatening. Pets, like their human counterparts, can suffer from heatstroke. Dogs do not sweat like humans. They sweat through their nose and footpads, and release heat by panting. If they are unable to effectively discharge body heat, the body temperature begins to rise. A dog's normal body temperature is between 100.5 degrees F and 102.5 degrees F. If, at any time, a dog's body temperature rises or falls beyond these levels, a veterinarian should be consulted – preferably a holistic one.

When a dog's body temperature rises to104 degrees, it is considered an emergency situation, and once it reaches106 degrees, there may be irreparable damage to organs which may result in death. Signs of heat stroke include: excessive panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, excess salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue and unconsciousness.

 

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, even if you are unsure, the following steps should immediately be taken:

*Move the dog out of the heat and sun.

*Place cool (not cold) wet cloths over most of the body, focusing on the head and footpads. Note: Placing cold or ice water on a dog suffering from heat stroke can make the blood vessels constrict, causing the internal temperature to continue to rise.

*Offer the dog cool water (not cold). However, do not force him to drink.

*Even if the dog seems better, call the vet. Internal organ damage may not be apparent to the untrained eye.

Please note that there are certain breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, which are extra sensitive to heat. Overweight dogs of all breeds are also at risk. Take special care to make sure that such dogs are protected during these hot summer days.

Sources:

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2011/07/keep_your_pets_cool_during_heat_wave_071111.html
http://petsadviser.com/news/5-heat-wave-tips-for-pet-owners/
http://dogs.about.com/od/dogandpuppyhealth/qt/heatstroke.htm

Dog lovers may also like:

Natural Remedies Help Turn Mangy Dogs into Happy Pets

Unrestrained Dogs in Cars Pose Risks to Themselves and Others

Traveling with Dogs

Helping Your Dog Overcome Separation Anxiety

The Many Benefits of Acupressure for Dogs and Other Pets

See also:

The Best Years in Life Pets and Animals Section

About the author:

Luella May is a natural health advocate and author helping people to heal naturally.  Her articles appear in several online venues, including Natural News, the Health Science Institute's Healthiertalk site, AlignLife and CureZone.  Luella is in the midst of editing her eBook, "The 8 Invisible Stains of Our Souls" which will be available in the next few months. She partners with Tony Isaacs, who authors of books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and "Collected Remedies" Luella contributes to The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Luella co-moderates the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and hosts her own yahoo group focusing on the natural wellbeing of pets. Luella May and her partner Tony Isaacs host The Best Years in Life Radio Show every Wednesday evening on BlogTalk Radio.

 

 

    

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