I looked at the weather forecast this morning and it was "Extremely Hot" for as far as the eye could see... Although personally I'd always prefer summer temps in the 90s over the freezing ones in the winter, our pets don't feel the same way. Extreme heat can be very dangerous for pets (especially short-faced breeds), and owners should be cautious of the warning signs of overheating in their pets, or keep outside play to a minimum on the hottest days.
I hear this a lot when people come in to schedule dog washes in our bath, "My dog is so stinky and sweaty, he needs a bath!" I always find this funny, because neither dogs or cats sweat the way we do. They do sweat through the pads of their feet, but that's it! Dogs and cats have other mechanisms for cooling their body down.
We don't hear about it as much as dogs, but cats can overheat too! My cat, Maka, likes to curl up on the cool porcelain of the bathroom sink. If you aren't able to keep your house climate controlled, be aware of the signs of hot kitties - sweaty foot pads, licking fur (so it can evaporate and cool them, kinda like our sweat does!), and even panting in extremely hot temps. If you notice your kitties panting, it's time to turn on their air conditioner.
Like cats, dogs sweat through the pads of their feet, but since it's such a small area it doesn't do much to cool them off. Panting is the main way dogs cool off, although they are also able to expand the blood vessels in their face and ears. Although it may seem contradictory, a dog's coat can also act as an insulator to help block the heat, especially when they are only outside for short periods of time. If your dog will tolerate it, spraying them down with water every once in a while can help cool them off as the water evaporates.
Most dogs love to play outdoors, and have a hard time telling you they are too hot. Watch for excessive panting, an extra long, extra red tongue or red gums. If you see any of these signs, it's time to stop playing, get some cool water and shade or AC. If it gets worse, into sluggishness, confusion, seizures, or stroke, they need to be rushed to a vet immediately.
All animals (and people!) need access to cool, clean water, ESPECIALLY in hot temperatures. Make sure you have a big enough water bowl, and you refill it regularly. If you are away from home, make sure you have a portable water bowl for your dog. I even add water to my dogs' dry food in the summertime to ensure that they are getting enough moisture.
We have some products for dogs who hate the heat:
- Cool Vest - soaked in water and with frozen gel inserts, keeps 'em cool on walks
- Floating Fetch Toys - need to stay active? do it in the water!
- Life Jackets - be safe in or near deep water
- Water Rover - hydration on-the-go
- Smart Pup Doggy Frozen Smoothies - the perfect summer treat
- Doggy Sunscreen (good for light coats/short coats/noses)
- From the Field Rope Toys - soak in water and freeze for a "rope-sicle"
- Bully Sticks - for those who prefer to stay inside and enjoy the AC!
I'll leave you with this adorable and slightly frightening photo of what I found when I searched "Hot Dog" on Google images.