No matter how hot it is outside, your dog has to go out to "take care of business." But in the hot summer months, dogs are more prone to heat stroke, a condition that can lead to death.  

CBCNews.ca spoke with Dr. Scott Mathison of Queen West Animal Hospital in Toronto to get some crucial tips for keeping your dog cool and comfortable in the heat.

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Bo, a black Labrador-Collie cross, pants on a hot day in Toronto. (John Rieti/CBC)

 

"It’s a lot more serious than people realize, and unfortunately every summer we see dogs that come in that we can’t save," Mathison said. "And it’s so preventable."

Mathison’s key tips are:

  • Change your hours: Aim to walk your dog during the morning or evening hours when it’s slightly cooler.
  • Pack water: Your dog should get a drink of fresh water about every 30 minutes
  • Avoid keeping the dog in the car: If you have to, bring two keys so you can keep the car’s air conditioning on but still lock the doors.

Mathison advises keeping an eye out for symptoms including laboured breathing, lethargy and discoloration around the lips and gums, which may indicate your dog is heading toward heat stroke.

Essentially, Mathison says, take care of your dog the same way you cope with the heat yourself.