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Dogs and Hot Weather

Desert Heat Means Special Care for Your Dog

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Previous page>> More Things to Know About Having a Dog in the Desert Heat

  • Walking the Dog in the Summer
    Can you walk your dog in the summer? Yes, but it is generally accepted that you should only walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening, about an hour after the sun has gone down. That's because not only is the temperature high, but the sidewalks will be too hot for the pads of the dog's paws. They'll burn. General rule: if the sidewalk is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your dog to walk on. If you choose to walk your dog in the summer, hopefully early or late, bring along water and make frequent water stops for the dog. Don't take long walks or over-exert in the summer. Consider these walks light exercise.
  • Dogs and Heat Exhaustion
    Heat exhaustion is common in dogs. It can happen your own yard, or on a walk. Dogs cool themselves by panting. If panting does not reduce the body temperature the dog will develop heat stroke. Early signs of heat exhaustion include rapid breathing, heavy panting, and salivation. Other signs are fatigue, muscle tremors, and staggering. If you see a dog that is experiencing heat exhaustion, take the dog to a cool, shady place, and apply wet towels or cloths to help cool the dog's body down. Try to give the dog small amounts of water, and immediately call a vet.
  • Dogs and the Sun
    Dogs get sunburned. Especially dogs with short hair or little hair on some parts of their bodies. Keep them out of the sun.
  • Hiking with the Dog in the Summer
    Like to hike with your dog? Please do it very early in the morning. Carry plenty of water, and make it the easy hike, please.
  • Dogs Breeds That Don't Like Heat
    Overweight and older dogs will have more difficulty with the heat. As far as breeds are concerned, it is generally accepted that snub-nosed dogs, like boxers, bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus have poor panting mechanisms, and so are more susceptible to being affected by heat. These should be indoor dogs, and should not be kept in the yard during the day. They should spend their days lounging in air conditioned comfort. Dogs with heavy coats can be trimmed for the summer, but not shaved bare or else they'll have a hard time insulating themselves and will be prone to sunburn and other skin irritations.
  • Dogs and Summer Exercise
    It's never a good idea to exercise your dog by having him run alongside your bicycle. If for some reason you do this from time to time, please don't do it in the summer.
  • Dogs and Trucks
    If your dog loves to travel in the back of your pickup, please avoid the temptation. If for some reason you must take your dog with you in the back of your truck, make sure the surface of where the dog has to sit/stand is not metal, and does not absorb heat. Test it. Leave your truck out in the sun for two hours and then go stand in it for 20 minutes in your bare feet (or sit on it with your bare butt!). If it feels hot to you, or it burns the skin right off your body, it feels that way to your dog, too.
  • Dogs in the Car
    I know that Fido loves to ride in the car, too. I've never met a dog that didn't. If you are going to run some errands, and it's 100 degrees outside, and the dog wants to come along in the car, please do him a favor and leave him home. If for some reason you have to take him along, do not ever leave him in the car without the A/C on. Even with the windows cracked, that car will heat up fast enough to cause brain damage or death in just a few minutes.

    Using common sense, and taking some of these tips into account, you should be able to keep a happy healthy pet in our desert climate. If you have specific questions about your breed, contact a local breed club for assistance.

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