Summertime means creek swims, epic games of fetch, and relaxing under cool shrubs — if you’re a dog. Just like humans, pets have to be careful in the heat, so it’s important to know how to keep them safe as the temperatures rise. Here are a few tips to keep your best friend healthy and happy during the dog days of summer.
Always Check the Temperature of the Pavement
In many ways, dog paws are tougher than human feet. However, they are still susceptible to heat! If the pavement is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Walking on hot asphalt can cause severe burns, so stick to the grass on hot days.
Provide Plenty of Water and Shade
Keep bowls of water clean, cool, and always available. In addition, always make sure your dog has a place to get out of the sun. Dog houses don’t count. They’re unventilated and can heat up quickly as temperatures rise. Additionally, not all dogs will move to the shade or drink as often as they need to, especially if there’s a lot going on. When you’re playing with them, or they’re romping with buddies at the dog park, make sure to bring them into the shade and encourage them to drink water on hot days. Also, avoid leaving them alone outdoors for long periods.
Take Frequent Breaks
As pack animals, dogs will continue to do their best to keep up with people, even when they’re not feeling well. Taking plenty of breaks to rest and cool off while on an extended walk or hike helps to ensure your dog won’t overexert themselves in the heat.
Exercise in the Early Morning or Evening
If you enjoy long walks, runs, or biking with your dog, schedule these activities during the cooler hours of the day (morning or after 5pm). It’ll be much safer, and much more enjoyable, for you and your pet!
Don’t Over-Trim Fur
Dogs’ fur actually helps insulate their bodies from the heat just the way it does the cold. It also protects them from sunburn, insects, and irritants. You can trim some long hair but avoid shaving your dogs.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Knowing the signs of a heat stroke can help save a dog’s life.
- Excessive panting
- Increased heart rate
- Ignoring commands
- Fever of 104°F or higher
If you believe your dog may be suffering from a heatstroke, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Never Leave Them in a Car
Even with the windows open, cars can quickly become too hot for dogs. Never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle! When traveling with your dog, it’s important to bring extra water, a leash, and a bowl, just in case you break down or end up spending more time on the road than you originally planned.
Check the Humidity
High temperatures aren’t the only concern during the summer. High humidity can also interfere with your dog's ability to regulate their temperature as it does with humans.
Always Supervise Your Dogs Around Swimming Pools
While many dogs like to cool off with a swim, not all dogs are excellent swimmers. Additionally, most pools have steep sides that can make it hard for a dog to get out of the water. Keep your furry friends safe this summer and never let them hang out by the pool unattended.
If they enjoy a swim in the pool with you, make sure they don’t drink the pool water. After pool play time is over, rinse them off to remove the chlorine from their fur.
Know Your Dog’s Limits
While some dogs love summer adventures, others would prefer to spend most hot days relaxing indoors. Dogs with flat faces, senior dogs, dogs that are overweight, or those that have respiratory or heart problems are particularly susceptible to overheating. Keep these things in mind when planning activities for them.
Make your summer enjoyable for you and your four-legged friend. Follow these tips to keep your pet safe during the dog days of summer.