Provide plenty of fresh water: Make sure your puppy always has access to clean, fresh water. Keep multiple water bowls around the house and refill them regularly so your dog always has a way to stay hydrated.
Remember to provide a shaded area if your pup is outside for an extended period: Set up a shady spot in your yard where your dog can take shelter from the sweltering sun. Use a canopy, umbrella, or tarp to create a cool and protected space for your dog.
Outside temps make for hot surfaces–if you can’t walk barefoot on them, neither can your dog: Be cognizant of the time of day and the surroundings while walking your dog. Asphalt, concrete, and metal surfaces can become scorching hot during summer, and dogs’ foot pads can burn easily. Find grassy or shaded areas for walks and playtime and always touch surfaces before letting your dog walk on them.
Too much time doing outdoor activities can result in dehydration and heat–related illness: During the hottest parts of the day, reduce your pup’s outdoor activities. Instead, engage in indoor playtime, exercise, and limit outdoor walks to the cooler morning or evening hours.
Exercise is both fun and rewarding with cooling options: Set up a kiddie pool or use a garden hose to create a shallow pool for your puppy to splash around in. Freeze toys and treats for your pup to chew on, providing cooling relief from the hot temps.
Cars are never a place to leave your puppy: It is crucial to never leave a dog unattended in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. Temperatures inside a car can rise to dangerous levels within minutes, leading to heatstroke or even death.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with signs of heatstroke: Signs of heatstroke in dogs can be easy to miss or confuse with other ailments. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke in dogs can include excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, vomiting, and collapse. If you suspect heatstroke, immediately move your pup to a cool area, offer water and cooling rags, and contact your veterinarian.
An Unexpected Summer Rescue
Anyone that’s spent any time in Texas during the summer months can attest to the sweltering heat. Dallas residents reserve al fresco dining for the fall and spring, while the summer is spent either indoors or poolside. The Texas heat can be overwhelming for humans and equally dangerous for our furry companions.
At five o’clock on a Friday afternoon, I found myself lamenting not having planned better as I rushed to Highland Park Village to grab a couple last-minute birthday gifts for my wife of twenty years. As the wife of a dog rescue husband, she’s become quite accustomed to unexpected (albeit not always welcome) surprises and last-minute guests as the phone conversation of, “Hi honey, I’m bringing home another sweet little friend, who by the way is full of fleas and has mange, but she’s such a sweet pup…and there just wasn’t a foster available”, has come more often than expected. Admittedly I’ve run through the gamut of excuses for bringing work home, but I’m lucky to have a life partner that lets me pursue my life’s passion…and bring it home on more than one occasion.
Since I had only left myself about twenty minutes to get in and out of two shops, and my sons were already texting me from the restaurant, I was relieved to find a parking space right in front of my intended shopping spot. As I jumped out to bolt in, I couldn’t help but be distracted by an adjacent crowd waving down two police officers nearby. The officers’ attention was immediately directed to an SUV parked next to me with its windows up and engine off. As the crowd grew more frantic, I realized there was a dog inside the locked vehicle. Okay, who in the year 2023 doesn’t know this is a very bad idea!?
As outdoor temperatures were well into triple digits, we all knew the inside of the car was getting very hot quickly, and the tension among the growing crowd was as palpable as the sweltering heat. As the trapped dog stopped yelping and collapsed on the driver’s seat, people began demanding the police officers break the car window. Having come into an already heightened tense situation, I tried to remain calm as I inquired of one of the officers if they had any inclination of the vehicle’s owner, to which he replied they did not; his partner proceeding to move back the crowd so he could break the window. As he pulled out his flashlight to break the glass, I noticed the vehicle’s sunroof was cracked open a couple of inches. Quite considerate, eh?! I forced myself to swallow my rising anger at the dog-owner as the officers and I hurriedly discussed that if we could spare the already traumatized pup from glass crashing into his surroundings, it was worth a try. I climbed onto the roof of the SUV, its black paint seeming to bubble under my palms, and the officer handed me his outstretched baton. I was hoping its four feet of length would suffice as the now lethargic pup gazed up at me with a look of perplexity and helplessness.
My intense work with man’s best friend has given me the appreciation of knowing that animals possess an unconditional love; however, in this instance, the pup’s eyes also conveyed a naïve bewilderment at being left to suffer in the boiling interior of the car. As haste was critical, I again breathed relief as the door lock popped open on first attempt. While the crowd applauded, solace was not gained until the door opened and I placed the pup into my arms. He suddenly perked up as his eyes perused his crowd of admirers and his normal disposition returned after gulping several handfuls of water from his fans. To avoid a possible confrontation and uproar, the police officers asked the crowd to disburse and agreed to stay with the dog until the owner returned. They promised to handle the situation with care and conscientiousness and assured me they would call me to help educate the dog-owner and assess whether the dog needed to be rehomed.
By the time I felt comfortable leaving the dog with the officers, the stores had all closed. When I finally reached the restaurant, my boys had taken charge and were about to cut the birthday cake. As my wife blew out her candles and made her customary silent wish, I too made one…that my sons will be as lucky as I to find a companion who understands the many facets of unconditional love.
Postscript: The dog-owner received a hefty citation and agreed to enroll in a six-week course for training dog owners. One of our lead trainers met with her regularly and reports she is now an advocate for human-training alongside puppy-training and helps lead a webinar on the dangers of heat exposure for pets.