The favorite time of the year for Austin dog owners has arrived in true Spring fashion! Rare seasonal breezes fill the lackadaisical warm days with ear flapping car rides, catching frisbees at the park and neighborhood walks. With average high temperatures climbing into the 80’s, the Bed and Biscuit would like to share some important dog heatsafety tips to remember.
The words ‘wanna go for a ride’ can bring even the laziest dog to life. Their favorite spot is riding shotgun with the window rolled down; noses pointed into the wind taking in all those wondrous smells with their ears flailing about wildly. But that car can easily become a death trap when dog owners neglect to consider the temperatures inside a parked car- even in the shade or with windows rolled down. The temperature inside a parked car can rise 20°- 40°, leading to dehydration, heat stroke and death in mere minutes.
TIP: Please, NEVER leave your dog inside a parked car when outside temperatures are 70°F or above.
Dogs love to go for walks to do their business and enjoy the smells, sounds and chase the occasional neighbor’s cat dragging you behind. The exercise of a walk or romp in the park can be physically and mentally stimulating for them. However, it’s important to remember that pavement temperatures can easily reach a scorching 140°, causing burns and permanent damage to your dog’s paws. Concrete sidewalks are not much cooler. In addition, the heat can prove detrimental to health-impaired or senior dogs as well as young pups.
TIP: Walk your dog(s) during the early morning hours or evening to avoid painful and possible permanent injury to your dog’s paws.
Never leave your dog tethered outside unsupervised for more than 15 minutes in temperatures of 70° or above. Whether your dog is tethered or fenced, ALWAYS be sure they have access to a shaded area and plenty of clean water and food. Fresh water is non-negotiable no matter if your dog is indoors or outdoors, going for a walk or a ride in the car. Shade is important not only due to the heat, but also to protect them from sunburns – especially short hair breeds. Body parts such as their ears, nose and underbellies are extremely susceptible to sunburns no matter the breed.
TIP: Keep a couple of fresh water bottles and a water bowl with you for walks and rides in the car.
We’ve all seen those adorable smushed face dogs like Pugs and Boxers known as a flat faced breed. They snore horribly and race around snorting, huffing and puffing leaving you in stitches of laughter. But did you know that these breeds are more prone to life threatening conditions including heat exhaustion, heat stroke and brachycephalic syndrome? Due to their anatomical facial structure, flat faced dog breeds have an inability to take in sufficient air fast enough during heat, exercise and stress. Take special precautions during the coming heat intense months to keep them cool, hydrated, and be sure to refrain from over-indulgent exercise and play.
TIP: Find out If you have a flat face breed HERE
Many breeds have what is known as double coats. Simply put, a dog’s fur is their insulation to the elements. The first is an inner layer known as an ‘undercoat’, is soft and thick protecting them from heat, cold and the UV rays of the sun. This is the layer that sheds. The outer layer is a coarser hair that repels moisture and adds additional insulation. By shaving a double coated dog, you actually remove their natural protection from the elements leaving them vulnerable to heat stroke, sunburn and alternatively (in the Winer months) hypothermia. Go HERE to find out if your dog has a double coat.
Pools, waterways and ice cubes are an excellent resource to cool down during the warm months for you and your four legged best friend. An inexpensive kiddie pool and garden hose are refreshing and encouraged to beat the heat and have some fun. Additionally, a dip in the neighborhood swimming hole is always inviting.
TIP: Never leave pools accessible to your dog without adult supervision and life vests are encouraged in waterways and full size pools.
While it’s easy to get lost in the day’s activities, failing to take into consideration the effects heat can have on our canine friends can all too often prove harmful, or even fatal. Take the proper precautions to keep your pet cool before tragedy can strike.