By Cryss Walker

(CBS DETROIT) – Taking your dog for a walk might be your pet’s favorite activity, but it can also be dangerous in extreme temperatures.

“Especially if you have a very athletic, active dog and you’re depending walks for exercise, adjusting that time to early morning or evening is gonna make a huge difference and ensure that the sidewalk is a safe temperature for your dog’s paws,” said Michigan Animal Rescue League communications manager Audrey Blaylock.

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“The general rule if it is too hot for the back of your hand it is too hot for your dog.”

Handlers at the Michigan Animal Rescue League say it’s important to watch out for signs of heat exhaustion.

“Just being very diligent about paying attention to your dog’s body language is important,” Blaylock said.

“We know our dogs very well. We know what is normal behavior for them.”

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Signs of overheating can include:

  • Heavy panting

  • Excessive drooling

  • Elevated heart rate

  • Deep red/purple tongue and gums

  • Nausea/vomiting

  • Weakness and lethargy

  • Agitation

  • Disorientation

  • Staggering or collapsing

  • Glossy eyes

  • Loss of consciousness

“If you do notice any physical symptoms like that, it’s very important to head inside, cool off, if it extends beyond that to be sure to reach out to your veterinarian,” Blaylock said.

If it’s too hot to take your dog for a walk, there are other fun activities to keep your pet active, like treat puzzles and play time in the sprinklers.

“Even something as simple as just pulling the hose out and having fun out in the yard, adding water just makes that activity so much more fun and exciting for your dog but keeps them cool so its something safe to do in the heat as well,” Blaylock explained.

If you’re outdoors in the heat, keep your pet in the grass over asphalt and give them ice treats or frozen chunks of food to keep cool.

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