BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The dog days of summer are not fun for anyone, and especially not for the actual dogs.
“Dogs cannot sweat. So when they take on heat, they can only expel their heat through their paw pads and through their respiration, through their panting. So keep in mind, heat builds up faster in dogs for that," said Dr. Andy Sokol, Caldwell Mill Animal Clinic.
Which is a big reason why you need to limit your dogs outside exposure on extremely hot and humid days.
When they do go out, watch for signs of heat sickness.
"The first thing they are going to do is pant. The second thing you’re going to see is that tongue move to the side of their mouth,” said Sokol.
The animal clinic provides a great example of a good outdoor environment for canines in their “doggie daycare.” It’s shaded with fans running, and there is even water for the dogs to jump in and drink, which is changed out as the day progresses.
"If you put a bowl of water outside in the morning, in the evening it’s going to be hot. And in the afternoon it’s going to be hot, whether it’s in the shade or not. And a dog is not going to want to drink hot or warm water,” said Sokol.
It’s also important to make sure your dog is acclimated to the heat. Animals that spend a lot of time outside in the spring and early summer build up more of a tolerance. However for indoor dogs, that’s not the case.
"It can quickly become a life threatening, catastrophic situation, if they are not accustomed to being outside in the heat,” said Sokol.