One nice thing about being a pug in San Francisco is the weather. Not too hot, not too cold.... Usually.
Today's temp hit a record-breaking 93 degrees. Definitely too hot. Sooo hot, that I was finally forced to overcome my fear of going in the water. Yes, today I went swimming. Real swimming. In real can't-touch-the-bottom scary deep water. And I liked it!
Swimming is a really really fun way to cool down, but if you don't live near water (or haven't yet converted to swimming), there are lots of other ways for hot doggies cool off:
- Take your walks early in the morning or at night when temperatures are coolest. Also remember: sidewalks, paved roads and sand can get too hot for naked paws.
- Embrace the spray bottle. I don't really like getting squirted, but my vet says it's a really good, portable way to beat the heat.
- Ask your human to make frozen snacks. Chunks of frozen bananas, peanut butter or cheese are super yummy. (For a lower-calorie alternative, fill an ice cube tray with water or natural beef/chicken broth, then add the chunks of goodies. FYI, have heard this can get a bit messy for slow eaters).
- If hot weather is a frequent problem where you live, consider investing in a cooling vest. Through the simple process of "evaporative cooling", these vests mimic the very effective human technique of sweating to stay cool. They're not cheap, but much cheaper than an emergency trip to the vet.
Heat exhaustion is common in dogs and can be life-threatening. Older, overweight or short-nosed dogs like me are especially sensitive to heat. Early signs of heat stroke include rapid breathing, heavy panting, and excessive salivation. Dogs may also experience a staggered gait, muscle tremors, listlessness, restlessness, dark red or purple gums/tongue, and vomiting.
If your dog does overheat, work quickly to cool him down. Head for the nearest shade or air conditioned location and apply wet towels to lower the dog's body temperature. Better yet, immerse him in cool (NOT cold) water. Offer small amounts of drinking water or ice cubes. When the immediate danger has passed, head to your veterinarian ASAP.