Summer in Atlanta

Summer is just around the corner, and Atlanta is already beginning to experience a change in weather. Summer in Atlanta usually means hot and humid weather, with temperatures reaching, on average, almost 90 °F (32 °C) in the afternoons.


Summer days with scorching hot temperatures can be uncomfortable, difficult to cope with, and even dangerous. If we are experiencing discomfort with the heat, that means our furry friends are too.


The Dangers of Leaving Your Dog in the Heat

The Bark ATL team wishes to raise awareness regarding the dangers of leaving your dog in the heat, and give a few tips for dog owners on how to keep your pets safe during the summertime.


By far, the most important thing to remember is to never leave your dog in a parked car. This is never okay, not even for a minute. Having your car running with the air conditioner on does not justify it, either. On hot days, temperatures inside a vehicle tend to rise rapidly, to dangerous levels. For an example, on a 78-degree day, temperatures in a vehicle parked in the shade can exceed to 90 degrees. If the vehicle is parked outside of the shade, it can even reach 160 degrees.


It only takes a minute for a dog left in a vehicle on a warm day to lead to heatstroke and/or suffocation. Dogs do not sweat like humans do. Dogs have a small amount of sweat glands, predominately in the paw pads. Thus, their primary source of getting rid of the heat is by panting or through vasodilation. Vasodilation is the process of bringing hot blood directly to the surface of their skin, allowing the blood to cool before returning back to the heat. Without the ability to sweat, they are also unable to cool down. An overheated dog is a serious emergency situation, as it can potentially lead to life-threatening consequences such as brain damage or even death.


Symptoms Your Dog is Overheating

  • Excessive panting
  • Red-colored gums, tongue, or eyes
  • Thick saliva in the mouth
  • Red “flushed” skin near the ears, muzzle, underbelly
  • Acting sluggish/confused
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If there are any symptoms during a hot day, remove your dog from the heat immediately and call your veterinarian. In the meantime, it may help to place a cool, wet towel over your dog. However, it’s crucial to remember to avoid using ice-cold water as it can lead to skin injury.


How to Avoid Heat Dangers

In addition to never leaving your dog in a parked vehicle, there are other tips and precautions to consider in order to keep your dog safe from the heat.


  • On extremely hot days where you’re running errands and going to be away from home for extended periods of time, consider dog daycare or a dog walker as an alternative. That way, your dog will be able to have fun and companionship.
  • If you’re going to bring your dog along with you on a trip, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and a bowl.
  • Avoid overdoing exercise and play sessions, regardless of the time of day.
  • Do not walk your dog on hot pavement. Just as we would be unable to walk normally on extremely hot pavement with our bare feet, our puppies are unable to as well. Not only can it burn their paws, but the heat rising from concrete can also quickly overheat them.


How You Can Still Have Summer Fun

The danger associated with an overheated dog does not mean that there are no ways for you to have fun with your beloved pet on summer days. Here are a few ways to have some summer fun with your dog, while simultaneously avoiding the dangers of overheating.


  • Popsicles are not just for humans! Cool your dog down by giving them a homemade frozen dog treat. Here is an easy DIY recipe from the Human Society.
  • Set up a sprinkler on your yard and have some fun running around together.
  • Host a dog pool party with all your friends and their puppies.

Pool Party at Bark ATL

Pool Party at Bark ATL

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