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Canine Expert Shares Summer Safety Tips

Dogs at risk for drowning and heat stroke

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Norwalk, CT | Added on June 24, 2014 At 05:21 PM

With July just around the corner, there are many ways beat the heat, but for our friends with fur coats, it may not be as easy. Chris Onthank from Dog Gone Smart says like humans, summer is when dogs are at high risk for neglect, heat stroke, drowning and other dangers.  

"You cannot just crack the windows because your car is going to get really hot within minutes if you're 65 degrees and over outside," said Chris Onthank. "If you have to take your dogs with you, I would either roll down the windows, a good ways, open up the sun roof, but again that is going to be risky. One of the best things you can do is turn on the air conditioning, or better yet, on hot days, leave your dog home."  

He says there are ways to determine if your dog is overheated. Dogs tend to overheat from their paws and mouths. 

"You've got to look at the tongue," said Onthank. "If the tongue is off to the side or the tongue starts to look "spathulated", meaning it looks like a spatula, very large, swollen tongue. Another thing you might try is that if your dog is breathing heavy, it seems like he's panting, and is restless, can't get enough air, at that point, we want to take our dog to a cool place, wet towels. Cooling down their under-belly, taking a cool towel or wash cloth and cooling the groin area, or belly area, around the ears and feet, that will cool the dog more quickly." 

Onthank tells us to avoid the extreme heat, walk your dog earlier or later in the day and if you're near a pool, make sure your dog knows how to swim and is supervised.  

"Teaching your dog how to get in and out of your own pool is a life saver," said Onthank. "Every summer, we hear of dogs that drown. So know that just because your dog's a dog, or he's a labrador retriever, doesn't mean he knows how to swim, teach your dog how to swim, get in the pool with him." 

He says lifejackets are always a safe option and are available online or at a local pet store.

"You clip on the bottom, they're adjustable," said Onthank. "And making sure you can hold your dog here and you can control the dog and keep him away from you when they start to dog paddle on your where you can get very badly scratched." 


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