Many U.S. cities are bracing for another heat wave and these ʺdog days of summerʺ leave pet owners, as well as their pets, at high risk for dehydration. Dehydration is 100 percent preventable in humans and our pooches.
A dog’s body weight is made up of 80 percent water. Experts agree a dog needs to drink at least one ounce of water per pound of their body weight each day. Dehydration is common in puppies and older dogs.
To avoid dehydration in your pet, supply them with plenty of clean water. Also, make sure their bowl is weighted down, so they can't tip it over.
If your dog spends time outdoors, provide a cover, like a tarp. It is best to bring your animals indoors if it is over 90 degrees and humid. Here are some additional tips to help your dog through the hot summer:
- If your dog has long hair, it is recommended that your dog get a trim at least once during the summer.
- Wash your dogs bowl daily to prevent bacteria from accumulating.
- Carefully monitor your dog's water and food intake during hot days.
- If they are not eating or drinking, check their mouth for foreign objects like sticks or sores
- Limit doggie exercise during extremely hot days
In an interview with ABC News, Nadine Walmsley of the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago said, "Bring all animals indoors and walk your dog when the sun goes down. Do not jog with your dog."
Here is a quick test recommended by the ASPCA to see if your dog is dehydrated. Carefully lift and release the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. If the skin does not return to normal it’s normal position immediately, your dog is dehydrated. Also, here are some additional symptoms of dehydration in a dog:
- Loss of appetite
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
Here are some symptoms if your dog is suffering from heat stroke:
- A deep red or purple tongue
- Lack of coordination
- Glazed eyes
- A rapid heartbeat
- Excessive thirst
- Profuse salivation
- Heavy panting
Here are some tips from the Humane Society to help your pets cool down from the summer heat:
- Move the animal into the shade or air-conditioning
- Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest
- Run cool water or the hose over your pet. Also, let them frolic in a kiddy pool.
- Allow your pet to drink small amounts of cool water and lick ice cubes
If you feel our dog is suffering from dehydration or heat stroke, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian can replenished your dog with intravenous fluids.
Reviewed July 26, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle