It just can't get much hotter than this! Triple digits all week. Now that we're reaching the dog days of summer, I thought it best to revisit ways to protect your pups from the heat. When the temperature rises there are several things you can do to minimize your pet's chances of heat exhaustion and skin cancer.
We often forget that the little guys are susceptible because they are covered in fur. Dogs with short or light-colored coats have the highest risk of developing cancer. (think Pit Bulls, Dalmations, Bull Terriers, Boxers) It's very popular here in L.A. to shave your dog for comfort but all of that skin is now exposed and needs protecting. Most pet retailers carry dog sunscreen and this is very important if you are taking your dog out for an hour or more. Don't use sunscreen for people on dogs. Some are safe, but a lot of them are toxic and you know Fido is going to lick it off! Apply the sunscreen to areas of low pigmentation like the bridge of the nose, the ear tips, and the skin around the lips. Apply it to all shaved areas as well. If they like to lay around with their belly in the sun this should be discouraged as much as possible. Basically, if the conditions are right for you to get sunburned so can your pet. Also, make sure your vet checks all moles regularly and give your pet a good once-over every week or so. This is a good habit in general. It will keep you apprised of any new developments in your buddy's health. And if you forget all of the above and your dog does get sunburned then apply 100% Aloe Vera with no additives to the affected area.
Another important thing to look out for in these fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk temps is heat exhaustion. Signs of heat exhaustion are labored or rapid breathing, resistance to walking, and sluggishness. You should be able to tell if the panting is abnormal. If this occurs you need to find a patch of shade and cool your dog down by re-hydrating her (bring a collapsible bowl) and pouring water over her neck and chest. Always take water with you when you exercise your furry friend in warm weather. Try not to exercise her when the temperature reaches 95 degrees or higher. Opt for morning and afternoon walks instead. Of course, she will need to be taken out to do her very important business so cut those walks down to 15 minutes or less. And if you have to keep your pup outside during the day, make sure you provide plenty of water and plenty of shade. She will thank you with a million slobbery kisses.