With temperatures soaring, keeping dogs safe during a heat wave should be a top priority for pet owners. The hot combo of high heat and humidity can pose serious health risks to our furry friends. Keeping this in mind, here are nine essential tips to make sure your pup stays cool, hydrated, and comfortable during the scorching summer months. 

  1. Keeping Dogs Safe During a Heat Wave Means Keeping a Close Eye on the Heat Index

When it comes to keeping dogs safe during a heat wave, the number one factor is… well, heat. Specifically, we mean the heat index. This measurement combines temperature and humidity into one convenient number. It offers a relatively accurate picture of how hot it feels outside. Believe it or not, this is crucial for keeping dogs safe during a heat wave. On days when the heat index is high, it is always best to keep them indoors as much as possible and limit outdoor activities.

  1. Keep a Watch on Those Delicate Paws

Dogs may be tough, but hot surfaces can play havoc with their vulnerable paw pads. For playful and active pups, try to avoid walking on turf, brick, cement, and asphalt as much as possible. Instead, walk your dog on grass or dirt paths. Beyond this, applying paw pad wax or using dog booties can provide extra protection against hot surfaces.

  1. Better Keep ‘Em Hydrated

Above all, staying hydrated is key to keeping dogs safe during a heat wave. Always offer your dog water before heading outside. Additionally, be sure to bring a portable water bowl if you plan to be out for more than 10 minutes at a time. Just like people, our furry friends need regular water breaks. Regular breaks for water are essential to prevent dehydration and overheating.

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  1. Try to Avoid Peak Sunlight Hours

The time of a dog walk can be surprisingly important. The sun’s rays are strongest during the afternoon and early evening. To combat this, plan your walks and outdoor playtime in advance. Aim for the cooler parts of the day, such as the early morning or late evening. This helps in keeping dogs safe during a heat wave by reducing their exposure to direct sunlight and extreme heat.

  1. Avoid Shaving Double-Coated Dogs

Let’s face it, fur can be hot! That said, some dogs need that fur. While it might seem like a good idea to shave your dog to keep them cool, it’s not recommended for double-coated breeds. In fact, this fur actually provides insulation against the heat. Instead, consider regular brushing to help remove excess undercoat and help them stay cool.

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  1. Never Leave a Dog Alone in a Car

Just like kids, it is never safe to leave your dog alone in a vehicle. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can skyrocket within minutes. Believe it or not, this can pose a deadly risk. To keep dogs safe during a heat wave, never leave them unattended in a car, even for a short period.

  1. Keep an Eye on Vulnerable Dogs

Some types of dogs need a bit more attention. These animals are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. These include puppies, seniors, dogs with heart or lung conditions, and flat-faced breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs. Extra precautions are necessary to make sure that these dogs stay cool and hydrated.

  1. Watch Out for Signs of Heat Stroke

Knowing the signs of heat stroke is critical to keeping dogs safe during a heat wave. Symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, difficulty maintaining balance, bright red gums and tongue, vomiting, and even diarrhea. If you notice any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.

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  1. Doctor Knows Best

As always, it is best to consult a medical professional. If your dog pants excessively in cooler weather without much exercise, it may indicate an underlying medical condition. Regular veterinary check-ups and bloodwork can help identify and manage any health issues. Keeping dogs safe during a heat wave requires your full attention, proper preparation, and a bit of creativity.