Nokesville Veterinarian Offers Advice About Caring for Dogs in Hot Weather

Don’t leave pets out for an extended period of time, or in a yard where there’s no shade, recommends veterinarian Dr. Mark Swanson.

When planning to deal with this weekend’s oppressive heat, a local veterinarian does not want you to forget about your pets.

Veterinarian Dr. Mark Swanson from the Nokesville Veterinary Clinic suggests the most important consideration for caring for dogs in hot weather  is keeping pets cool and out of areas that offer no relief from the heat.

“They need shade; don’t have them out in direct sunlight,” he said. “[Keep them] in an area the wind can get to, has good air circulation and offer them plenty of water.”

When pet owners need to take their dogs outside, he suggests pet owners be mindful that different breeds deal with the heat differently.

“It depends on the dog; some with short hair can handle [the heat] fine. With long hair dogs you have to be careful,” Swanson said. “Some of the real athletic sporting breeds can handle it.”

He also advised that pet owners should consider the age and medical issues of their particular dog.

“Young puppies and older dogs are much more prone to heat exhaustion,” he said.

Heat exhaustion in a dog means that his or her body temperature is increasing to unsafe levels. If the dog’s body temperature is over 107 degrees, the pet can suffer neurological problems.

If you suspect that your pet has succumbed to the heat, bring him to a vet immediately, he said.

“Panting means that they are getting hot. [When they are suffering from heat exhaustion] they become very lethargic, become non-responsive to commands, and very, very weak,” he said. “Their gum color can get pale or in some cases red.”

Swanson reminds dog owners never to lock pets in a car even for a short time, as they need air circulation.

“It’s against the law [to leave dogs unattended in a car], and you never know when you’re going to get caught talking to someone.”

ASPCA experts warn that pets can become dehydrated very quickly, so to keep dogs cool in high heat situations, it’s important to give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outside.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a kiddy pool; (however,) water can get over 100 degrees and that won’t do any good,” he said.


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Category: Health & Wellness, Pet Patrol

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