Simple trick to tell if it's too hot outside to walk your dog

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

While everyone is trying to beat the unbearable summer heat, it's important to keep your animals' safety in mind, too.

The Moon Valley Canine Training center in Sonoma, Calif. reminds us that pets are dependent on their owners to protect them from the dangers of harsh weather. Fortunately, the canine center has provided one easy trick to tell if it's just too hot to walk your dog: the five-second rule.

"Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog."

Heatstroke can affect all warm-blooded animals, especially dogs wearing fur coats year-round, and can be fatal if not treated immediately. According to Pet MD, dog owners should watch out for excessive panting and signs of discomfort that may indicate overheating. This is often caused by leaving the dog in the car on a hot day or not providing shade to the animal outdoors.

If your dog shows signs of overheating, remove them from the hot environment immediately and try the following steps:

  1. Put your dog in the bath tub.
  2. Run a cool (not cold) shower over your pet, covering the whole body -- especially the back of the head and neck.
  3. Allow the water to fill up the bathtub as you shower the dog. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
  4. If getting the dog into the tub is impractical, use a garden hose to cool the dog or place him in a pool of cool water.
  5. Apply a cold pack to the dog's head to help lower his body temperature -- a packet of frozen vegetables works fine.
  6. Massage the legs. A vigorous rubbing helps the dog's circulation and reduces the risks of shock.
  7. Let the dog drink as much cool or cold water as it wants. Adding a pinch of salt to the water bowl will help the dog replace the minerals it lost through panting.

Pet MD advises owners to especially watch over dogs who enjoy a lot of exercise and playtime. No matter the type of dog, the best solution is preventing their exposure to hot and humid conditions.