Avoid Hot Dogs This Summer


July 16, 2020

July is typically the hottest month of the year in Wisconsin. On those sweltering days, you have enough horse sense to know what to do: dress in light, breathable fabrics, avoid prolonged exposure to the heat and sun, and stay hydrated. Your pets rely on you to help them stay cool, too, so it’s up to you to apply the same basic rules when it comes to them.

During the summer months, dogs can have the same troubles we do - dehydration, overheating, and even sunburn. Unlike us, dogs have very few sweat glands on the bottom of their paws, which do little to regulate their body temperature. Dogs cool down by panting or rapid open mouth breathing.

When a dog gets overheated, it can lead to heat exhaustion. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, organ failure, and even death. But according to Lis De Souza, a groomer in southern Wisconsin, there are some fundamental things you can do to keep your canine cool during the dog days of summer.

“From a grooming point of view, the first thing I recommend is de-shedding,” says De Souza. “A dog’s fur coat actually helps protect the skin and regulate their core body temperature. But many dogs have a dense undercoat that needs to be shed or else it can inhibit the ability to cool off.”

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If the dog has a particularly dense undercoat, like Retrievers, Labs and Huskies, de-shedding might be a multi-step process. Ideally, these dogs should have de-shedding treatments on a regular basis throughout the year.

De Souza says that owners may also want to consult with their dogs’ groomer about a summer haircut for their pet. While it sounds like a logical thing to do, a trim isn’t ideal for every breed, and shaving certain breeds is a no-no.

“Dogs need to have some fur if they’re exposed to the sun for any length of time,” says De Souza. “They are just as susceptible to sunburn as we are.”

Aside from grooming tips like de-shedding and haircuts, De Souza says there are other steps pet parents can take to ensure their furry friends are kept comfortable this summer.

“We all know this, but it bears repeating: cars can be a deathtrap for pets, even if the windows are wide open,” she warns. “Never leave a dog alone in car on a warm day, even if it’s cloudy.”

If you are travelling with your canine companion, bring along plenty of water. In fact, water should be readily available to your dog at all times.

Playtime and walks should take place when it’s a bit cooler outside. Time these activities for early mornings and evenings. Do not put your pet through any physical exertion immediately after he or she has eaten, especially when it’s hot and humid outside. And if you think it’s so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, it could quite possibly burn your pet’s sensitive paws. Again, it’s best to wait for when conditions cool down a bit.

If possible, bring outside dogs inside on hot days. If this is not a possibility, at least make sure they have a cool, shady hideaway and plenty of clean, fresh water. Older and obese dogs, as well as dogs with medical problems like lung or heart disease, should be kept inside with air conditioning.


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