We live in Charlotte NC and that means we have several months of hot temperatures during the summer. When I photograph dogs during these month, I can pretty much guarantee that most of the photos will look like this. The dog will be panting. The tongue will be hanging out of his mouth.
According to petmd.com, once a dog's body temperature rises, he can't sweat through his skin like we do to cool off. Dogs do sweat through their paw pads, but it's by panting that dogs circulate the necessary air through their bodies to cool down. In really hot temperatures some short nosed dogs like pugs and bulldogs have a very difficult time trying to cool off.
Here are a few pointers to help your dog stay healthy and safe during the hot summer months:
- Plan to exercise your dog earlier in the day when it isn't so hot
- Be aware that the pads of their feet can burn on hot pavement. Put the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds. If it is hot to you, it's too hot for their paws.
- Recognize that dogs can get heat stroke. I know a woman who was running with her lab and he died on the run of heat stroke. She had no idea it could happen. Please educate yourself and others. Seeing people running with their dog this time of year drives me crazy. If the dog is lagging behind on the run with a human, that's probably a sign.
- Never leave your car in a vehicle.
As a dog walker and pet sitter, the summer months are busy with clients on vacation. I will opt for shorter walks during the midday hot temperatures and then play indoors. While I am walking, I try to stay in the shade and in the grass. I tend to do longer walks earlier in the morning.
I am overly cautious with my dogs and with my client's dogs in hot temperatures. Safety first!