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High temperatures make pavement too hot to trot on

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Updated: August 2, 2012 6:19AM



Dear Ollie, Whew, it is really hot outside. Yes, I know that’s what we in the Midwest can expect but the last few days have been too hot for dogs, cats and other pets. I know, because I was left outside without water for a few hours and, since I was tied up, I couldn’t hide under any shade. I was boiling mad at my owner when he finally came out and led me across the hot asphalt driveway to the house.

Thank goodness, the house was air-conditioned and I did cool off and I was snuggled, which I liked. But can you believe that I was even too hot to drink water out of my darling red bowl? Shouldn’t my human know better?

Jasmine, the
too-hot-to-trot Akita

Dear Jasmine, Hot, humid days of summer are wonderful to imagine and wish for in the winter but tough to experience for a dog. 

With the exception of a few glands on the paws and nose, dogs have no sweat glands. So, if you are wearing a full coat of fur, your temperature could be over 100 degrees.

You can’t cool yourself with sweating so you pant. When you pant, air absorbs the moisture allowing you to cool off. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough.

And here’s the danger, just as it is with humans. If your internal temperature elevates, you could have a heatstroke and may die or be permanently brain damaged.

When humans transport dogs in cars, tie them outside, jog or walk with them in the heat of the day, they must be keenly aware of the tell-tail signs of trouble with an animal that is over heating.

The signs are: fast panting, a dog that is hot to the touch, gums that are red and a lack of coordination. The dog may lie on its side panting while becoming semi-conscious or even totally passing out.

The message to a human is to lower that dog’s body temperature immediately. The best way to accomplish this is to put cool, but not cold, water on the dog’s body especially near the head and stomach area. I have heard that dogs will drink Gatorade which provides a replenishment of sodium, potassium, electrolytes and water.

Pavement is another danger. Just as you were dragged across a hot asphalt driveway by an unthinking human, dogs made to run or jog on asphalt can experience blisters on their paws and end up with sore feet.

Jasmine, getting back to your question of whether your human should know better. Of course, your human should know better but, after all, he’s only human. Perhaps he got busy and forgot you outside or miscalculated the time, or didn’t think to put fresh water in your bowl.

I hope he reads this column because he got off lucky this time and so did you. You should never ever be too hot to trot.



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