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The Dog Days of Summer
by Dr. Joseph N. Farkas DVM

The really hot, sweltery days of summer are called "Dog Days" for a reason.

Cats tend to tolerate the heat relatively well. Certain precautions should always be taken with all pets, but generally speaking, cats are not affected by heat.

Dogs, on the other hand can be deeply affected by high temperatures. A dog's skin has no pores, and therefore cannot sweat. They must rely on the pads of their feet and panting to sweat.

Dogs with compromised respiratory systems often suffer the most in the heat because they cannot pant as well. In other words, the shorter the nose on the dog, the worse effect the heat will have on him.

Breeds like Boxers, Boston Terriers and Bull Dogs will suffer more. Dogs like Dobermans, German Shepherds and Collies will tolerate the heat better.

Dogs can suffer from major problems as a result of excessive heat, not the least of which is brain damage.

Here are some things to consider:

Do not jog or run with your dog in high temperatures. The dog will not stop just because he is hot. He will try to keep up and this is very dangerous.

Never, ever, ever, leave your dog in a parked car while you just "run in" somewhere. Judge the heat by his standards not yours. A car is too hot for a dog, with or without the windows rolled down.

Never have the dog ride in the back of a pick up truck. The heat from the metal of the truck will reflect and increase his temperature. PLUS, remember, your dog sweats through the paws of his feet and in the back of a pick up truck his feet will be on hot metal.

Never shave your dog thinking that the hair makes him hot. His coat actually protects his skin from the heat. Shaving him can cause major damage.

If you want to bring your dogs temperature down quickly, apply cold compresses to his carotid artery - just below his neck. His blood circulates through this spot, so in effect you are cooling his blood and therefore his body temperature.

Sprinkling a hot dog with a hose is a good idea, but will not act as quickly as applying the compress to the carotid artery.

Do not worry that the cold water will shock him. Better he should be slightly shocked then to suffer brain damage.

A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to your dog. Remember, he is counting on you to keep him healthy and safe.

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