It's so hot you can break out in a sweat just standing still. Imagine how hot you'd be if you had to wear a fur coat and could not get out of the sun! Well, that is how animals feel outside. Sometimes, we forget or don't realize that just as the weather affects us, it affects our pets similarly.

In the summer, dogs are especially vulnerable to heat stroke and sunburns. Believe it or not, it doesn't matter how young or tough a dog may be. When temperatures are 89F and above, it can be life-threatening for your four-legged pal. The temperatures don't have to be that high if it's extra humid.

One thing about SWLA is we have hot, humid weather for more than half of the year. So, here are some great tips from Stella's & Chewy's to help you and your dogs stay cool and healthy during the summer.

1. TEMPERATURE: We are in the upper 80s. It's too hot for your dog. This is especially true if you exercise or take them for a leisure walk.

2. BODY HEATDogs have no way to cool off other than to pant. They have sweat glands that only produce a minimal amount, nowhere near enough to help cool their bodies like humans.

3. PAW BURNS: In less than 1 minute, your dog's paws can burn on the sidewalk, asphalt, or concrete. Likewise, the sand at the beach is just as hot.

    • Before taking your dog for a walk, test the concrete with the back of your hand for about 7 seconds. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.
    • If you are out on a hot day with your dog and they start limping or walking funny, chances are their paws are burning. Quickly remove them from the pavement. Click here to learn what to do if your dog's paws are red and swollen. Contact your vet.

4. FLAT-FACED:  Dogs like English bulldogs, Shih-Tzus, Pugs, Boxers, and other Bully breeds.

  • This breed already has obstructed nasal airways, which usually is followed by breathing problems big and small. These dog breeds are at a very high risk of dying of heatstroke or overheating because panting is much more difficult.
  • This breed should always have a lifejacket on around water because of the weight of their head, and they can drown.

5. AGE:  of your dog is a significant factor. Senior dogs and puppies can't regulate their body temperature like healthy adults.

6. HEALTH: If your dog has a health issue, you don't want to add heat exhaustion to the mix. You also want to consider their meds, if any, and consult walks and exercise with their Vet. Any health issue can make your pup more susceptible to the heat and humidity.

7. COAT THICKNESS: It matters how thick your dog's fur is. For obvious reasons, a double-coated breed like a German Shepard or Akita is going to overheat a lot faster than short-haired dogs like a Pit Bull Terrier.

8. BODY MASS: Once again, if your dog is overweight or a big breed it will overheat a lot quicker. The extra weight will also be required or the size of the dog will take longer for them to cool down than a Toy breed for example.

9. COAT COLOR: If your dog has a dark coat, it will draw heat, similar to a black car versus a white car. Dark-colored dogs absorb more heat from sunlight.

10. Hydrate: Bring along a bottle of water for you and one for your dog. Take a water break during your walk and let them drink a little to prevent overheating. Even if it's in the evening. Though the sun is down and the pavement is cooler, it can still be hot and humid.

The moral of the story is, that we aren't the only ones who can overheat on hot days. So, during the summer the RSPCA recommends the best time to take your four-legged buddy on a stroll is early in the morning or in the evening as the sun is going down.

I sure hope these tips were as helpful to you as they were to me. If so, please pass these along to help inform your dog-loving friends and family.

LOOK: Longest-living dog breeds

To find out the longest-living dog breeds, Stacker examined data from the journal Genetics and American Kennel Club's 2023 breed popularity rankings. 

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