The dog days of summer are approaching and it’s important to keep your pets cool during the higher temp months. While you may be able to handle the hotter temps, your pet will not fare well. Even on seemingly “cooler” days in the summer it still may be too hot for your pet. Whether you’re new pet parent, recently moved to a hotter area, or just maybe never really considered just how hot is hot for your pet, this post is for you!
How Hot is Too Hot
Depending on your dog’s breed, it may do slightly better in the heat than other breeds. For example, brachycephalic dog breeds like pugs and frenchies do not do well in temperatures over 70+ degrees. Other physical attributes like heavy coats, excessive fur, or being overweight may also add to discomfort in heat. Generally speaking, temperatures over 75 degrees are moving into the unsafe territory for pets of all breeds, shapes, and sizes.
As you may know, the heat in the summer can creep up easily and quickly. This means that you and your pet may already be out in the heat before you fully realize just how hot it is outside. According to data reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association, when the air temperature is 86 degrees, the asphalt temperature registers 135 degrees. You can check to see if the pavement is too hot for your pet by placing the back of your hand comfortably on the ground for 10 seconds.
Here’s how to tell if your pet is overheating.
Pets cool themselves down through panting however excessive panting is an indication that overheating is happening. What’s the difference between their normal panting and excessive panting? If your pet is panting in the same manner they do after an intense walk or run from simply sitting or a light stroll, it’s time to head inside.
Some breeds of pets are prone to drooling more than others. Excessive or abnormal drooling is a strong sign that it is too hot for your pet. The thicker and stickier saliva helps the dog dissipate heat more efficiently when panting. You will likely notice excessive drooling and panting in combination with one another.
No one likes moving quickly in the heat and that’s ok but lethargic behavior could be a sign that your pet is over heating. If you notice your pet napping longer or having trouble standing up, they may be too hot.
Fast and Irregular Heartbeat
Did you know that your dog’s heart rate is actually kind of slow? When dogs get hot their heart begins to pump faster; this is how they cool down through dissipating heat through vasodilation. A fast heartbeat means that your dog is pumping overheated blood away from the vital organs to the extremities.
Overheating can cause severe dehydration. This, in turn, causes gastrointestinal upset resulting in severe diarrhea and vomiting that may also have traces of blood. You can try to get your pet to drink by adding frozen pet-safe fruits and vegetables to their water bowl.