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Caring for Your Dog in the Arkansas Summer Heat

As summer blazes through Arkansas, it's essential to ensure your furry friends stay cool and safe. Most dogs aren’t built to handle high temperatures, making them vulnerable to heat-related health issues. Here’s a guide to help you care for your pets during the hot summer months.


Understanding Dog Physiology and Heat

Dogs don't have sweat glands, like humans, so they rely on panting and their paw pads to release heat. Breeds with white or fine coats, like Bull Terriers and Greyhounds, are prone to sunburn. Black-coated dogs absorb more heat. Breeds with shorter snouts, like pugs and bulldogs, struggle with heat dissipation due to restricted airways. Age, health, and weight also play roles in how well a dog can handle the heat.


Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool

1.   NEVER Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car

  • Even with windows cracked, temperatures inside a car can skyrocket to dangerous levels quickly. 

 


2.   Provide Fresh Water

  • Always have fresh, cool water available.

  • Consider using collapsible water bowls for easy hydration on the go.

  • Avoid unknown water sources to prevent infections and parasites.

 

3.   Stay Indoors During Peak Heat

  • Keep your dog inside an air-conditioned space during the hottest parts of the day.

  • If AC isn't an option, create a cool spot with fans and shade.

 

4.   Schedule Activities Wisely

  • Walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening.

  • Avoid hot surfaces like pavement and sand that can burn their paws.



5.   Use Cooling Products

  • Invest in cooling vests, crate pads, and damp towels.

  • Keep chamois cloths on hand to place on your dog's back for cooling.

 

6.   Offer Frozen Treats

  • Provide dog-safe ice pops or ice cubes to help your dog cool down.

 

7.   Maintain Grooming

  • Regular brushing and bathing help remove excess fur and prevent matting.

  • Avoid shaving their fur completely; it offers some protection from the sun.

 

8.   Use Kiddie Pools

  • Let your dog splash in a kiddie pool or take them to dog-friendly swimming spots for exercise and cooling.  


Recognizing and Responding to Heatstroke

Signs of Heatstroke:

  • Rapid, loud breathing

  • High rectal temperature (103°F or higher)

  • Extreme thirst

  • Weakness, fatigue, or disorientation

  • Vomiting

  • Dark or bright red tongue and gums

  • Thick saliva and heavy drooling

  • Agitation and rapid heartbeat

If you suspect your dog has heatstroke:

  • Move them to a cooler area immediately.

  • Pour cool water over their head and body or submerge them in cool water.

  • Offer water and use a rectal thermometer to check their temperature (should not exceed 102.5°F).

  • Seek veterinary care even if they appear stable.


Extra Measures

  • Frozen Chew Toys: Use a freezer to make frozen treats.

  • Battery-operated Fans: Great for keeping your dog cool on the go.

  • Rubbing Alcohol: Dab behind ears, on the stomach, or paws for rapid cooling.

  • Spray Bottles: Mist their groin area and paws with cool water.

  • Rectal Thermometer: Monitor your dog’s temperature for any signs of overheating.


When to Seek Veterinary Attention

Dehydration Signs:

  • Lethargy

  • Excessive panting and drooling

  • Sunken eyes

  • Dry, sticky gums

If symptoms persist after offering water, seek immediate veterinary care.


Conclusion

Summer is a fantastic time to bond with your dog outdoors, but it’s crucial to keep an eye on the temperature and your pet’s well-being. By following these tips, you can help ensure your dog stays cool and safe during the sweltering Arkansas summer.

Remember, if it's too hot for you, it's likely too hot for your dog. Enjoy the summer safely with plenty of hydration, cool spots, and lots of love!


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