How Hot is Too Hot for your Dog?
By Beth Crosby
A professional pet sitter who owned her business once asked me if I thought dogs felt hot asphalt under their feet. I was flabbergasted that she asked and fearful for the pets in her care. Dogs’ pads are flesh. Pads have nerve endings like any other flesh. If the surface is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for a pet, too.
Consider walking the dog on grass if you must walk it during the heat. Both cement and asphalt liquefy in high temperatures and can seep into a dog’s bare skin. I have seen a dog with tar in his paws. Without that extreme, the burn is still painful and intense.
Other hot surfaces might include a boat or pool deck. Cool water can lower the temperature, but be sure reapply cold water frequently because the water heats in the sun, as well.
Other dangers include outdoor grills and ranges. If you grill out or cook in an outdoor kitchen, remember these hot surfaces can be dangerous lures to your pet because the food or residue smells yummy.
If a surface is too hot for you to touch without protecting your skin, it’s too hot for your pet’s bare skin.
Sunscreen is for pets, too
Dogs with short fur or thin coats are particularly sensitive to UVA and UVB sun rays. Pink noses and tummies are also at risk for burning and skin cancers.
So when you pick up sunscreen for yourself, remember to get sunscreen specifically for pets. Zinc oxide is the active ingredient in most sun block (and some diaper-rash ointments), but the element is deadly to dogs. (That’s why pennies are dangerous to dogs.)
Be sure to get a sunscreen without the zinc oxide. Many options are on the market, but if you are unsure, talk to your vet or pet sitter to see if they can recommend a product.
Unattended cars are dangerous
One last reminder: Cars heat quickly, and dogs suffer in hot cars with little circulation, no water, and stress. “At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees…When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172,” according to heatkills.org/how-hot/.
This information is not new, but every year, dogs suffer and die in hot vehicles. Owners think they’ll just run in for a minute, and the dog will be fine. But how often have you run into the store to get two things and then remembered the other five things you need before getting into a slow line? Well-intentioned owners find themselves with a sick or dead pup because time slips away.
Do your pets a favor and leave them at home in the cool. The alternative of leaving the car running is dangerous for other reasons, such as the dog locking itself in the car or pushing it into gear. You can take your pets for a ride around the block later and devote a few minutes just to them.
At Fluffs of Luv, your pets’ care and comfort is our primary concern. Our pet sitters are trained in pet safety and make your pets’ health and safety our priority. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits for your summer and fall travels.
Visit the resources below for additional information on summer sun safety.
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