After such a long isolated winter, I know we’re all looking forward to walks in the city parks this summer! Even though it’s exciting, the hot humid weather can really take a toll on our pets! I spoke to Dog Expert Melissa McKee from Dogtopia about how to recognize the signs of heat stroke and the importance of our keeping of dogs cool in the hot Toronto weather!
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Dogs Sweat Differently Than Humans
In order to understand why it’s easier for our dogs to overheat, it’s important to understand how they sweat differently than us! Melissa explains that dogs have two different kinds of sweat glands: merocrine glands and apocrine glands. Merocrine glands are found in a dog’s paw pad, and this is the type of sweating that helps them cool down. Apocrine glands, which are found throughout a dog’s body, will also make them sweat; however, this type of sweating won’t aid in cooling them off.
The main way dogs cool down is through panting. When a dog pants, the combination of the evaporating moisture on their tongue and the evaporation of their moist lung lining work together to bring its temperature down!
Signs of Over-Heating Or Potential Heat Stroke
Melissa says these are the signs to look out for if your dog is over heating or about to have a heat stroke!
- Heavy or excessive panting
- Extreme drooling
- Lack of coordination
- Red gums
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
- Muscle tremors or seizure
- Feeling hot to the touch
- Loss of consciousness
If you do find yourself in this situation, you should immediately bring your dog into a cool, air-conditioned area and keep them hydrated! If the condition worries, Melissa advises to seek medical attention immediately!
“As a pet parent, I highly encourage you checking in with your dog to know what their “normal” looks like – what is their healthy gum colour/tongue colour? How often do they pant after a walk during a 15 degree day? This will assist in you being able to determine if/when they start to overheat!”Melissa Mckee
The Perfect Time & Place
During the summer, the best time of day to take your dog on a walk is during the early morning or late evening! Melissa says that if you’re really hot, it’s likely your dog is too, so going around these times will avoid over-heating and burning their paws on the hot pavement!
Melissa recommends visiting these dog-friendly Toronto parks since they offer a lot of shade and places for your pup to rest if they need to take a break!
Toronto’s largest public park that even has an off-leash area that Torontonians refer to as Dog Hill, lots of bench seating where you and your dog can take a break, and a water fountain!
There are many designated boardwalks for pedestrians and their furry friends, and a lovely view of Toronto’s waterfront!
Trinity Bellwood’s Park
Home to the Dog Bowl, another leash-free zone with lots of pet parents and pups alike. Full of mature trees, you won’t have issues finding shade here!
Summer Frozen Treats: Pupsicles!
Melissa shares two quick and easy frozen treat recipes for your pups to keep cool and hydrated!
Frozen Chicken Bites
This homemade treat requires an ice cube tray, one cup of chicken stock, one cup of peanut butter and two tablespoons of chopped parsley leaves. Divide the chicken stock evenly into the ice cube inserts, filling the tray about halfway. Place it in the freezer for about an hour to let it set. When that’s done, pour the peanut butter and parsley mixture into the tray to fill the inserts fully. Let the chicken bites freeze for at least four hours, and they’ll be in perfect condition for your doggo. Bone Appetit!
Banana Pup Pops
Instead of using your overly ripe bananas to bake some banana bread, opt to use them for this delicious pupsicle that will have your dogs saying, “Paw yeah!” All you need is one cup of plain yogurt, a banana, and one tablespoon of peanut butter. Blend them up and pour the mixture into four different paper cups. Place a peanut butter stick in the middle and pop your treats in the freezer for four hours. When they’re frozen, they’re ready to serve.
“If you’re worried about your dog overheating too easily but still want them to get enough exercise, your nearest Dogtopia location is always available for your furry loved ones to enjoy off-leash open play all day in a worry-free and climate-controlled environment. Dogtopia provides socialization, education, and exercise for your pup, taking care of every dog like it’s their own!”Melissa Mckee