Summer Heat Tips for Your Dog

The Humane Society of Elmore County’s Executive Director Rea Cord has shared tips to keep your dog safe from the hot Alabama heat this summer.

Rea writes, “summer in Alabama has arrived and with heat warnings for this week PLEASE make sure you have taken steps to ensure your pet’s safety.  Our dogs and cats cannot sweat like we do so they have to pant to try and control their body temperature.  Panting can only cool them down so much, so owners need to take the temperature into account in regard to summer activities with your pet.    

First off, our pets need unlimited clean, cool water.  Make sure your pets have plenty of fresh water and that it is located in a shaded area to help it stay as cool as possible.   Many dogs will love a children’s plastic wading pool full of nice cool water that they can get into if it gets too hot.  Want to give your dog a treat on a really hot day – go buy bags of ice and put in a wading pool for them to play in.  And we aren’t the only ones that enjoys the cooling effects of a fan.  Box fans are inexpensive, just make sure they cannot chew on the power cord.

If you have outside dogs with dog houses, those houses must be under adequate shade else wise they will turn into mini-ovens unsuitable for protecting your dog from the elements.  If you think an unshaded doghouse is adequate shelter for your pet, just crawl in one this week and see for yourself how ‘comfy’ it is.  Our wish, of course, is for dogs and cats to be inside your home so they can enjoy the air conditioning or fans with their human family. 

Many folks like taking their pets with them on errands, but this time of year, please leave them HOME.  Your car can turn-into a killer oven in just a few minutes and you never know when that quick trip into the store turns into one longer than expected.  And if you leave your vehicle running with the air-conditioning on for your pet, still make sure that you don’t do that for too long as mechanical failures could occur so that the A/C is no longer cooling, and the results could be devastating.  If you see a pet in a parked vehicle this time of year, please call the appropriate law enforcement so they can take any necessary actions. 

For those that travel with their dog in the back of a pickup truck – just DON’T!  The bed of a truck is hot enough to scorch your dog’s paws so please put your dog in the cab of the truck with you so it too can enjoy the air conditioning and be much safer.

Before shaving a long-coated dog thinking it will help them, please talk to your Veterinarian as dogs can get sunburned and overheat faster because they have no protection from the sun.  For those with ‘short-nosed’ dogs like Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers and more, keeping them in air-conditioning is critical as these breeds simply cannot handle the heat and will suffer heatstroke or death if left out in the high heat, even if they have shade.

For all who love going to flea markets and outdoor festivals/events this time of year, please just leave your dog at home while you look for ‘treasures’ or have fun socializing with fellow humans.  You may think taking your pet with you shows how you love it, but far too many dogs are simply miserable (or actually endangered) on hot sand or pavement and would be much happier (and healthier) staying at home in the A/C, happy to greet you on your return.

Our pets are not super beings able to withstand conditions that we don’t like ourselves.  If you are miserable in the heat, your pet is too so please plan accordingly to keep your pet safe and happy throughout our long Alabama summer.”


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