If you're finding the heat a bit too much for you, imagine how your dog feels. People can walk around in shorts and vests, but dogs have enough fur that it's like they're wearing wooly jumpers. Dogs can sweat only through their paw pads and their tongues, so they find it hard to regulate their temperature in hot weather. Take the necessary precautions to keep your dog safe and comfortable.
Your pooch might love hanging out with you while you do your errands, but in hot weather he's far better off at home than in the car. Even with the windows down, the temperature in a parked car can rise to as much as twice the temperature outside. On a day when the temperature hits 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes only 30 minutes for the temperature inside your car to reach 120 degrees, which can be fatal for your pet.
Dogs don't have a sense of cause-and-effect when it comes to hot weather, so they're likely to keep on running around at full pelt even when they're becoming dangerously overheated. In hot weather, stick to taking your dog out early in the morning or late in the evening, when the temperatures are much cooler. Never walk your dog during the hottest part of the day. Avoid walking him on asphalt, where possible, as it can get hot and burn your dog's feet. Always bring a bottle of water and a small dish with you, in case your pup needs a drink.
It's important to hydrate your hound in hot weather, so be sure he has an ample supply of cool, fresh water at his disposal. Rinse his bowl and change the water twice daily in hot water; sterilizing the bowl weekly. Don't leave your dog out in the yard when it's hot; bring him inside where it's cooler. Keeping your curtains drawn or your blinds down can help keep the inside of your home cooler. If you have air conditioning, leave it on for your dog, even if you're going out.
Look out for signs of heat stroke in your dog. These include collapsing, having difficulty breathing, excessive panting, glassy eyes, stupor or depression, and bloody diarrhea or bloody vomit. If you think your dog has heat stroke, get him out of direct sunlight, cover him in towels soaked with cool water or spray water on him, blow air from a fan on him and get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images