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Like humans, dogs can easily overheat in extreme temperatures. Photo courtesy of Katie@!.

U of M vet offers tips to keep dogs safe in extreme heat

August 2, 2011

While the scorching temps and extreme humidity have been hard on most Minnesotans during the past couple of weeks, it has been equally – if not more – difficult to tolerate for pets, namely dogs.

A University of Minnesota expert who can offer advice on how to keep dogs safe during warm weather is:

Dr. Sue Lowum, assistant clinical professor, College of Veterinary Medicine

“Think of yourself with a fur coat on,” Lowum says. “You would not be able to tolerate extreme temperatures for long and it would be very uncomfortable.”

Other than a dip in a lake or to go potty, Lowum said there is no reasonable amount of time to keep a dog outside when it’s extremely hot. In the event that an owner is unable to provide their pet with air conditioning and/or bring them indoors, it’s paramount that they make sure the animal has plenty of water and has access to shade.

Like humans, Lowum says it’s possible to keep a dog cool with similar techniques such as spraying them with water, turning on a fan, making sure they lay on cool surfaces and even cooling them with ice packs.

Overheating signs include a temperate of more than 102.5 degrees, lethargy, decreased appetite, excessive panting (even in a cool environment) and diarrhea. If a dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, Lowum says to take them to an emergency veterinary service such as the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

On top of everything, under no circumstance should an owner ever leave a dog – or any pet – unattended in a car when it’s hot, Lowum says.

To schedule an interview with Lowum contact Nick Hanson, University News Service, (612) 624-1690,; or Brian Graves, College of Veterinary Medicine, (612) 624-6228,

Tags: Academic Health Center

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