Help Your Dog Beat the Heat

If you don’t help your dog beat the heat, you may have big problems later. That would be a tragedy.

Help Your Dog Beat the HeatWe walked our three dogs today — mid-day — for a very short potty break only because the electricians were working in the already brutally sunny back yard.

The asphalt street and the concrete sidewalks were cooking hot – so much that our dogs were “picking them up and putting them down” fast to get on the grass where it was at least 15 degrees cooler on their paws.

This got me to thinking about the heat from your dog’s perspective, especially those with heavy coats.

There are three areas of concern where you can help your dog beat the heat:

  1.   Running/exercising your dog outside
  2.   Back yard dogs braving the heat
  3.   Doing errands with your dog in the car in the heat

Running/exercising your dog outside

It’s always good to hear that so many people take their dogs on a run with them. Exercise and obedience training is good for your dog and aids in preventing dog behavior problems.

However, use common sense when taking your dog out on extremely hot days.

Here are some tips that can help your dog beat the heat. Remember, he can’t speak to let you know his discomfort so be sensitive and smart for his sake.

Don’t run or exercise your dog outside mid day. Schedule your time early or late when it is cooler.  

Shorter runs are better.  Don’t require your dog to run miles with you in the heat.

I see it all the time at Memorial Park, the dog is struggling to keep up with its owner on those hot trails with all those cars going by.  Pay attention.

Carry water on your run for your dog and take frequent breaks for his sake. He wants to keep up with you and not disappoint you— so notice if he is struggling to keep up.

Remember his pads may burn on hot surfaces. Try standing on your running surface in your bare feet as a test.

Dogs can sunburn. If your dog has a short coat, be concerned about how long he is out in the sun.

Back yard dogs braving the heat

Don’t leave your dogs in the back yard in the heat unless you absolutely have to.

If that is the case make sure they have plenty of shade to get out of the direct sun and plenty of fresh water to keep hydrated.  

Having a wading pool (Wal-Mart kiddie pool) with 3-4 inches of water in it to cool down your dog as needed would also be helpful.  Keep this in the shade.

Older dogs, younger dogs, dogs that are overweight need to be kept out of the heat for sure.

Snub-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs (English and the Frenchie), Pugs, Shih Tzu’s – just to name a few, need to stay inside. You know that if it is in the mid-90’s in Houston, the “feel-like” temperature is triple-digit.

Running errands with your dog in the heat

My four words of advice on this: Don’t even do it.

When you run errands, leave your dog at home. I suppose if you had someone that could ride with you and stay in the car with your dog – engine running with the a/c on – it would be okay.

But never leave your dog in a parked and locked car – even with the windows cracked.  You will cook your dog. Don’t do it – not even just for a second. It only takes seconds to severely injure or kill your dog.

In summary

Know your dog so that you can more easily recognize when something is wrong. Your dog’s normal temperature should be around 101 degrees. Consider anything over 103 an emergency and get your dog to the vet.

And speaking of the vet, would you be able to call and locate an emergency vet clinic in a panic?

Keep your emergency information (vet phone number or an emergency vet number) handy and with you at all times just for such an emergency.

Last but not least: Learn the signs of heat stroke in your dog.

These include:

  •    excessive panting
  •    drooling
  •    rapid pulse
  •    fever

Cool downs and rehydrating are critical. Cool your dog down with cold towels or ice packs wrapped in towels and get your dog to your vet immediately.

Avoiding all the pitfalls of summer heat can keep your dog safe for years to come.

We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from.  I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. Comment below, I’m here to help.

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

If your dog is a brat, Ground Rules for Great Dogs will help you get him from bratty to behaved.

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

3 replies
  1. Lois Garza
    Lois Garza says:

    I see those poor dogs at Memorial Park looking exhausted with their tongues hanging down to their knees. I think there should be signs along the trail to remind the runners, walker to check on their dogs during the hot Houston months. They are so focused on themselves that they don’t pay attention to their dogs.

  2. Trish
    Trish says:

    Jim: thank you so much for this article. I see so many people out jogging with their dogs and they’re pulling them down the street because the dog is overheated. I’m sharing this on my Facebook page so people will be aware.

    Awesome!

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