Prolonged periods of high temperatures, such as we are having now in California, can be life threatening to people and to dogs. Here are a few things to keep in mind from the Humane Society and veterinarians.
The dog’s body is built to preserve heat which is great in the winter, but they are susceptible to overheating in the summer. They have sweat glands only in their noses and the pads of their feet (That’s why dogs' feet smell like popcorn or dirty socks, depending on your point of view.)
Dogs that are normally clipped should be given summer haircuts, but don’t shave dogs with double coats (German Shepherds, Huskies, Collies, Samoyeds). Their fur provides protection from the heat. Shaving them can actually cause heat stroke.
Temperatures that are not uncomfortable for humans can be life threatening to a dog. Short nosed breeds, pugs and bulldogs, are particularly vulnerable to heat. An overheated dog can suffer brain and organ damage in 15 minutes.
Be aware of signs of heat stress in the dog: restlessness, dizziness, lack of coordination, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, labored breathing or excess panting, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, lethargy. If the dog has any of these symptoms, cool them down gradually with water on their tummy and feet. Don’t use ice which would be too much of a shock.
If the dog is unresponsive, has pale gums and a deep red or purple tongue, get it to the veterinarian.
And, of course, never leave it in a car during these days. If you see a dog in a hot car, notify the authorities.