As summer is here we have been experiencing more hot days, which is a welcome thing for us, but can be devastating for our dogs. Dogs do not sweat like we do, they mainly cool themselves by panting and this alone may not be enough to keep up with elevated temperatures.

Our canine friends can get into difficulty if it is hot outside (80’s and above) and they are ill, old, overweight, overexerted, have no access to water, or as we all know, are trapped in a hot car.

I would like to take just a moment to review hyperthermia in a vehicle in hot weather. In just 10 minutes the temperature inside the car can reach 102 degrees and in 30 minutes it can climb to 120 degrees. These situations are incompatible with life and you should never leave a pet (or child) in a car in hot weather, even if you leave the windows cracked (this does not help). In 14 states (including Ohio) it is a criminal offense to do so. In these states, it is also permitted for you to rescue the pet from the trapped environment (I would recommend you call the police first).

Indications that your dog may be having a heat stroke are: panting, drooling, red gums, vomiting, black stool, seizures, tremors, and unconsciousness. If your dog is in a hot environment and exhibiting any of these signs, you need to take to a cooler area, wet down with cool water, pet a fan on, and call your veterinarian immediately.

Of course, prevention is always the preferred method. Do not leave your pet in a vehicle (not even for a minute), have plenty of water and shade available, do not over exercise (walks in morning and evenings are best), and on really hot days keep your pet indoors.