Hot Dog Warm Weather Tips for You and Your Pup

Every year dogs become ill and die from heat exposure. Unfortunately, many dog owners are unaware of how dangerous the heat can be to their pups. Many dog owners only fear the risks of leaving their pets locked up in a car. Still, dogs can suffer heatstroke whether trapped inside a vehicle or freely roaming outside. Just an hour outside with your dog can make them seriously ill to the point of life-threatening situations.

The heat can affect some K9s more than others based on many factors. By preparing yourself and your K9, you may be able to avoid this life-threatening condition. These factors are essential and cannot be ignored.

Acclimation to the Heat

K9s must be allowed to become acclimated to the changing conditions before spending more time outdoors. Ramp up the outdoor exercise gradually while the weather is beginning to change.

Fitness Level

During the summer months, consider your pup’s fitness level. Keep in mind that it’s probably very similar to yours. If the handler isn’t spending much time outdoors, likely, the K9 is not receiving much exercise either. Reduced fitness levels can lead to decreased tolerance to heat and activity.

Ensure Safety. Be Prepared

For example, don’t wait till you need air conditioning to find out it’s not working.

Be Aware – Be Ready

Environmental Factors

Affect if and how quickly your pup can become overheated. For example, panting provides cooling by evaporation of fluid into the environment. However, high humidity can affect how effective this can be. The cooling mechanism of panting or sweating is less effective in a humid climate. Therefore, handlers must limit the K9’s activity in high humidity environments to avoid hyperthermia.

Carry Water

Be prepared to have water available for yourself and your dog. Always carry plenty of fresh water and a portable or collapsable bowl for your pup. A good way to ensure you always have the essentials with you when you need them is to have a backpack ready all the time. 

It Cannot Be Said Enough – A HOT CAR IS AN OVEN!

DO NOT leave your dog in a vehicle. Venting or opening the windows is not enough to keep your partner from overheating. If you exit the car, take your dog with you or leave your dog at home.

Recognize Signs of Heatstroke in Your Pup

Your K9 has one goal… to succeed and do what you ask of them and be rewarded.

Whatever you ask, they will do until they succeed. As the handler, it is your responsibility to watch out for them. Monitor your pup for signs that they may be becoming overheated. Symptoms of heatstroke can include:

  • Stumbling or falling
  • Vomiting
  • Extremely pink or red gums
  • Excessive panting followed by cessation of work.
  • Slowing down or not keeping up. If your K9 suddenly is falling behind, there is a problem.

What to do When Signs of Overheating Occur

  • STOP all activity. Find a shady place for your dog to lay down.
  • Cover him with cool water. Do not apply a wet blanket or towel as this can insulate the heat.
  • Offer water as long as he is mentally aware and not vomiting.
  • Administer additional cooling measures such as fans or air conditioning if available.
  • Monitor the body temperature. The degree of body elevation is not as significant as the length of time that the body is at that temperature.
  • Get your pup to the veterinarian.

Summary to Minimize Risk of K9 Heatstroke

  • Prepare your K9 and your supplies for heat.
  • Monitor for symptoms of overheating.
  • If overheating presents, take immediate steps to cool your K9.
  • Have items readily available to care for your K9: cooling packs, portable water bowl, bottled water, fan, or air conditioning in your vehicle.
  • Seek veterinary care immediately if your K9 is not cooling and showing symptoms of heatstroke, such as vomiting, weakness, and excessive panting.
  • Prevention is most important. Be prepared. Be aware of your K9’s normal behavior. Be ready to act if your K9 becomes overheated.