There’s no better way to see the world than with your dog at your side. That’s why we pulled out all the stops researching the best places to visit with your dog to find the U.S. cities with the most pet-friendly amenities and activities. Because so many dog-friendly destinations are likely to see warm weather, we talked to an expert about dog safety in hot weather. Kit Darling, the infection prevention coordinator at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science, explains how to keep your dog happy and healthy on a trip no matter the climate.
Reviews.com: What advice do you have for families traveling to a hot climate with their dog?
Darling: Dogs have a higher body temperature and more difficulty to cool down than humans. Dogs cool down by panting. Dogs can become overheated and may experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Some measures you can take to protect your dog are:
- Do not leave your dog in the car even for a few minutes. The interior of the car can heat rapidly even if the outside temperature is in the 70s or 80s. A parked car with the windows cracked heats almost as quickly as a car with the windows rolled up. If you need to stop, take your pet out of the car or have another adult stay in the car with the air conditioner running.
- Check the pavement to see if it is too warm for your dog’s paws. Put the back of your hand against the pavement. If it is warm to the back of your hand, then it is too warm for your dog’s paws. If you are at the beach, test the sand since it can be hot, too.
- Keep your dog out of the direct sun. Shade is cooler than the direct sun. Some dogs can sunburn.
- Give your dog fresh water to drink frequently.
Are there additional considerations to keep in mind if your dog isn’t used to hot climates?
Limit the time outside. Take your dog out in the cooler part of the day; early morning or late evening. If you have to go out during the hotter time of the day, limit the time to 5-10 minutes, stay in the shade, and provide fresh water for the dog to drink.
What breeds may have a harder time in hot weather than others?
Some breeds that are less tolerant of hot weather are brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers. Heavy coated dogs, such as chows, huskies, and Alaskan malamutes are also less tolerant to heat. Overweight dogs, old, and young dogs have a harder time in hot weather. Limit the time outs,ide and their activity.
Obviously if you bring a dog with you on vacation, you want to bring them along while you’re exploring. What should pet parents keep in mind for exploring with a dog in a hot area?
Go slow and take frequent breaks to rest and drink water. Exploring is best in the cooler parts of the day such as early morning. If possible, stay in areas that are shaded. Watch for signs that could indicate overheating such as excessive panting and not responding to you as they normally do. Other symptoms of overheating might include drooling, increased heart rate, glassy-looking eyes, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, dry, pale gums, and disorientation. If you see these symptoms get your dog out of the heat, cool them with fresh water to drink, and sprinkle cool water on them or place a wet towel or cloth on them. Contact a veterinarian.
Do you have any tips for dealing with extra shedding in hot climates?
Dogs shed more in hot weather. Frequent brushing, baths, and trimming their coat can help with shedding but don’t shave them. Their coat can protect them from the sun.
What other medical situations may come up when traveling with a dog, regardless of climate?
Please give your dog flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Also, when traveling take their veterinary records with their vaccinations and any medical conditions they may have. If they are on any medications, be sure you have enough for the days you will be traveling. It is a good idea to check with your veterinarian before traveling for any recommendations they might have regarding your dog’s health.