DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) — The Summer temperatures can not only cause stress and health issues to humans, but they also affect our furry friends.
Veterinarians say if it is too hot for you it is most likely too hot for your dogs. Dogs can be prone to heat illnesses while you are out taking them for a walk in the Summer months.
Dr. Marianne Kirkendall, vet at Colonial Terrace Animal Hospital in Dubuque says one of the most common health dangers dogs face in the Summer is heat stress. She says this illness presents itself in symptoms like heavy panting, hoarse panting, stumbling or vomiting.
Panting is one of the only ways dogs can sweat in the heat, so Dr. Kirkendall says the Summer conditions makes this more difficult.
“The only way that dogs can cool themselves, realistically is by panting and if they aren’t able to pant to exchange that heat because the ambient air temperature and humidity is so high they’re not able to cool themselves very well
She says many pet parents will want to do anything they can to cool down their dog if they are facing heat stress, but she says this can do more harm than good.
“If your dog may be succumbing to heat stress to contact your vet as soon as possible. You’re going to be tempted to do things like put them in a cold tub of water or something like that, but that can be really dangerous and make matters worse so its best to just contact your vet as soon as possible get them in.”
She says there are certain breeds that are more prone to heat stress as the air quality can make it hard for them to pant.
“We see the biggest risks with dogs that kind of the more squished face breeds so our bulldogs and bulldog mixes, pugs.”
Dr. Kirkendall says if you think your dog is under heat stress call your vet right away. She says there are a few ways you can help cool your dog down in the meantime:
- Put rubbing alcohol or water on the pads of their feet to promote sweating
- Place them in front of a fan
- Bring them inside to air conditioning or keep them in a shaded area
The vet says dogs are also in danger of feet burns during Summer walks. She suggests keeping your pet’s paws off pavement as much as possible.
A good way to test if pavement is too hot for your dog’s feet is to place the back of your hand on the ground, if it is too hot for you it is too hot for your pet.
She says another common Summer danger does not have to do with heat at all. She says with more fireworks lighting off in the Summer months, your pets may be startled. She says a lot of dogs will run out of their yards when they get startled by fireworks putting them in danger.
If fireworks are causing your dog anxiety while they are safe indoors, you can try to calm them by drowning out the noise with a TV or radio. Dr. Kirkendall says you can also visit your vet to have your dog put on anti-anxiety medication.