One of our favorite vets, Dr. Lisa Lippman, breaks down everything from summer’s big no-nos to the little-known issues–from the best time to walk your little (or big) buddy to the best frozen treats for pups–to make sure your pet is safe in the heat.
Dr. Lippman is an NYC vet (who makes house calls!) and has been featured on Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, and ABC News among others, and is also the co-founder of WYLDE.
Read on to learn how she’s keeping your furry friend in mind when the temps rise.
1. Short-nosed friends are especially susceptible to the heat. If it’s too hot outside, keep your dog inside as much as possible. This is especially important for elderly dogs, young puppies, and dogs with short snouts (pugs, bulldogs, etc.), which have shorter airways and tracheas as well as smaller nostrils, so their cooling mechanisms aren’t as effective as dogs with longer snouts. Because they have a harder time cooling themselves off in hot or humid weather, short-nosed breeds are more likely to suffer heatstroke and exhaustion (though excessive heat is dangerous for all breeds, no matter how long or short their snouts are!).
2. Don’t try to solve for heatstroke with ice water. Keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke, including lethargy, excessive panting and drooling, reddened gums. If you notice any of these signs, cool them off with cool (not cold) water, and bring them to the vet immediately. Cooling a dog down too quickly by using ice water or very cold water can be just as dangerous as heatstroke, as very cold water can make your dog’s blood vessels constrict, which actually inhibits their body’s ability to cool down.
3. Try frozen chicken broth for summer. As long as you keep an eye in the sodium content and there is no garlic or onions in it, frozen or chilled chicken broth can be a great hot-weather treat and can encourage your dog to keep hydrated. You can add the frozen broth cubes to their normal water dish, or give them a cube or two directly as a treat.
4. Be your dog’s decision maker. It’s important to remember that dogs aren’t capable of making smart “hot weather” decisions for themselves. Some owners think that their dogs will “slow down” or “go in the shade” if they feel hot. The reality is that dogs aren’t aware of the dangers of overheating and will sometimes overexert themselves. Never walk your dog during the hottest times of day in the summer to avoid them overheating. Even if your schedule doesn’t allow you to take pets out during cooler times of day, utilizing on-demand walking apps such as Wag! can help busy pet-parents schedule on demand walks in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are at their lowest.
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