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It's that time of year where the weather starts getting warmer and we can't wait to go and take our furry friends on tons of adventures in the sun! Unfortunately, this is also when we start to see a lot of cases of heatstroke. Unlike us, our dogs don't sweat very well! In fact, the only sweat glands they have are on the pads of their feet! Seems pretty inefficient, huh? Dogs cool themselves by panting. In order for this to be effective, they need to be in an area where the outside temperature is lower than their body temperature. This is why it becomes a problem when dogs are left in cars on these hot days, even if they are in the shade. The good news is that heatstroke can be prevented! Here are some quick, easy tips to make sure that summer play time stays fun:

- Provide access to water at all times (easy, right?!)

- NEVER leave your pets in a hot, parked car (even shaded or with the windows open). Parked cars can quickly get up to 140 degrees!

- Do not muzzle your dog outside for extended periods (they can't pant!)

- On a hot day, allow your dog to set their own pace during exercise

- If they are outside dogs, make sure they have a shaded area to retreat to

- Air conditioning is their best friend!

- Keep pets with predisposing conditions such as heart or lung disease cool and in the shade at all times.
- Swimming is a great summer activity, if they like water of course!

Heatstroke can be very serious and can sometimes lead to death if not treated! Here are some signs to look out for:
-excessive panting
-vomiting and diarrhea
-bright red tongue and bright red or pale gums
-increased salivation/thick, sticky saliva

It is our initial instinct as pet parents to try and actively cool them down by placing cold towels, ice packs, water, etc. on them. However, cooling them down too quickly can lead to very serious complications and they need to be monitored very closely during the cooling process. So if your dog starts showing any of these signs, please simply remove them from the heat and seek veterinary care right away! We hope everyone has a safe and happy summer with our favorite companions!


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Princeton Animal Hospital


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