Story last updated at 8/14/2013 - 2:57 pm
DEAR PAW'S CORNER: You've posted a lot of warnings about keeping pets indoors and out of hot cars during the summertime. However, I have two large dogs that have always been "outside" dogs. They seem to tolerate the heat well, but are there any precautions I should take? - Carol in Tallahassee, Fla.
DEAR CAROL: It's important to monitor pets that are outside, whether they are out there for a few minutes or for most of the day. Even on moderately warm days, bearing the heat can be a struggle.
Make sure that your dogs have a well-shaded area with good ventilation where they can rest out of the hot sun. Cool, fresh water should always be nearby - on hot days, check their water dishes frequently.
Check your dogs often to make sure they're not showing signs of heat injury or heat stroke. Dogs can go very quickly from seemingly normal to serious distress, particularly in hot temperatures. A dry tongue, excessive panting and appearing to be in a stupor are serious warnings signs; if your dogs show these, or have a high body temperature or go into seizures, contact the vet immediately. Don't put cold water or ice packs on a dog showing signs of heat stroke; bring it to the emergency vet right away.
Consider creating a space for your dogs in an air-conditioned part of the house for days that are especially hot for your area. Bring them to it during the hottest part of the day, and let them back outside in the evening and morning.
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you know mosquitoes can transmit heartworm larvae to dogs, but fleas don't? Find out more in my new book "Fighting Fleas," available now on Amazon.
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