Summertime Tips

Fun in the sun with Rover

Here comes summer, the lazy hazy, crazy days of summer. It's too darn hot, but the livin' is easy. There's cheeseburgers in paradise, and Rover's waiting for his share.

While the family enjoys the warmth of summer sun and the softness of summer evenings, Rover may be suffering from the heat or from overindulgence of leftovers. To avoid tragedy, families should consider the effects of increased day length, temperatures, and snacks-after-the-barbecue on the family pet. Livin' with Rover can be easy if you heed these warm-weather cautions and follow these tips.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are distinct possibilities if the dog is subjected to high temperatures in poorly ventilated areas, including cars (even with the windows cracked open), sheds, or other enclosures. Dogs dissipate body heat by panting, not sweating, and rapid panting causes increased loss of water and carbon dioxide. If the dog is stressed by high temperatures and humidity and poor ventilation, his circulatory and respiratory systems can be overtaxed.

Heat stroke is the most common and most likely to be fatal. Symptoms are: panting; staring; warm, dry skin; extremely high fever (106 degrees or higher); rapid heartbeat; vomiting; and collapse. Treatment includes immersion in cold water. If no tub is handy, spraying the dog with the hose is the next best action. Ice packs applied to the head and neck may also help. Heat stroke is life-threatening; get the dog to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible after lowering his temperature.

Heat exhaustion is less serious and generally follows heavy and prolonged exercise in intense heat. It develops more slowly than heat stroke and may be preceded by a salt deficiency or a complication of heart disease. The treatment is the same: lower the temperature with cold water, then get the dog to the clinic.

Here are some tips for helping you and Rover enjoy the warm weather:

More Warm weather tips

Norma Bennett Woolf

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