Summer and the heat can mean great stress and physical suffering for dogs. The hot season can even be life-threatening for dog breeds that are particularly sensitive to heat. To ensure that the summer remains bearable for the dog, dog owners should observe the following advice:
Parked car as an oven
Never leave your dog in a closed, parked car when it is hot! From an outside temperature of 20 degrees, the heat in the car can be life-threatening. Because solar radiation creates a glass house effect and temperatures of 50 degrees and above are quickly reached when the sun is blazing on the car roof. A bowl of water or a small gap in the window is of no use. A shady parking lot can be just as dangerous. Remember that the sun moves!
Since a dog has hardly any sweat glands and therefore cannot sweat normally, it has to regulate its body temperature by panting. If the temperature inside the car rises dangerously, cerebral edema can quickly lead to cardiovascular failure and the animal’s death (heat stroke).
Anyone who discovers a dog in a closed car on a warm day should immediately alert the police or emergency services.
On longer car journeys
If you don’t have air conditioning, you should plan long car rides with your dog in the morning and evening hours if possible. Otherwise, a traffic jam can easily become a hazard. If driving is unavoidable, stick damp towels in the car window. These provide shade and cool down when driving lightly.
Make sure that your dog has a naturally shaded area outdoors (e.g. in the garden). Please note that many surfaces such as tiles, asphalt, or concrete heat up extremely when exposed to strong sunlight. If your dog moves from one paw to the other, that is a clear signal.
It is better to postpone sports activities and long walks with your dog to the morning and evening hours. In general, always choose shady paths and remember that the asphalt increases the heat extremely. Since dogs do not sweat like humans, they are at risk of heart and circulatory disorders, including heat stroke, when they run around. Stop walking at the first sign of exhaustion. Older dogs in particular need regular cooling and resting phases with sufficient fresh drinking water.
The constantly freshly filled water bowl is vital for your dog’s survival and should be checked and refilled several times a day and cleaned at least once a day. Germs can multiply quickly in warm water and pose an additional risk.
It is better to feed several small meals in summer and skip the midday ration. Remove leftover food immediately after eating. The leftovers spoil quickly in the heat and can cause diseases.
Trim thick fur
Many dogs have a thick, double coat that protects them well from the cold. In summer, this fur can become a hindrance because it blocks heat dissipation. In contrast to humans, many dogs can sweat badly or not as much. Therefore, clipping dogs with long hair or thick, double coats in the summer brings relief. However, the fur should never be clipped down to the skin – a hair length of just under a centimeter offers sun protection.
What to do if your dog has heat stroke
A HEAT STROKE is an emergency and requires quick action!
Signs of dog heat stroke include excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, staggering or difficulty standing, and bright red gums. Loss of consciousness or convulsions can also occur.
Action: Get your dog into the shade immediately. Slowly cool your dog’s legs and then his body with damp cloths or blankets. Wetting the paws can also provide slight cooling. If your dog is conscious, offer him fresh water. Call a veterinarian or take your dog to an ambulance – even if he recovers somewhat after the first aid measures – his life is still in danger. IV fluids and emergency medicine may be needed. Notify the veterinarian before you arrive so that everything can be prepared and no valuable time is lost.