Texas summers can be brutal. With average highs of 86°F to 98°F in June, heat exhaustion is a very real concern for humans. But it’s also a major concern for our four-legged friends.
Even just a few minutes of outdoor play time can overheat a dog. But that doesn’t mean your furry Texas pal has to spend his entire summer indoors. Taking a few safety precautions can keep your dog cool in the summer heat.
Know the Signs
Dogs can’t tell us what they’re feeling, but their bodies can exhibit signs and symptoms that let us know something isn’t right.
How can you tell if your dog is over-heated? Here are the most common signs:
- Heavy panting or breathing, and restlessness
- Dry or discolored gums
- Glazed eyes
- Increased pulse
- Weakness or collapse
Dogs may also “dance” on hot surfaces to keep their feet cool.
If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, bring him inside, and make sure that he has access to plenty of fresh water.
Heat exhaustion isn’t the only concern here. Like humans, dogs can become agitated when they spend long periods of time in the heat, and this can increase the risk of dog bites.
Every year, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. Don’t let your dog become one of these cases. If your pup is showing signs of agitation and heat exhaustion, take him inside and give him a chance to cool down.
Walk and Play at Cooler Hours
One of the best – and simplest – ways to protect your dogs from the Texas summer heat is to walk and play during cooler hours.
Mornings and late evenings are the best times to play. Temperatures are cooler, and the sun isn’t as strong as it is in the afternoon.
The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 am and 2 pm, so try to avoid playing or going on long walks during these hours. If you can’t escape the heat, at least walk and play in shaded areas. Bring plenty of fresh water and a portable bowl to keep your dog hydrated.
Skip the Car Ride
Unless you’re headed to the park or just taking a ride around town, it’s probably best to leave your dog at home. Pets should never be left in a parked car, especially in the summer heat.
Even with the windows cracked, it can become dangerously hot inside a parked car.
All it takes is 30 minutes for inside temperatures to climb from 85°F to 120°F.
Protect the Paws
Did you know that dogs sweat through their paws? And just like us humans, their feet are extra-sensitive to heat.
Roadways and sidewalks can get extremely hot and burn your little pal’s paws. If it looks like your pup is “dancing” on the pavement, he may be trying to tell you that his feet need to cool down.
To protect Fido’s paws, try walking on grassy areas whenever possible, or invest in a pair of dog booties if you can’t avoid the pavement.