While most people look forward to the summertime, especially after a long winter, it’s easy to forget about your furry friends and how they handle the change in weather and the impending heat.
Dogs are susceptible to weather changes just as much as humans are. They even suffer from seasonal allergies much like we do. That’s why it’s super important to be aware of dog safety as the warmer weather approaches.
To learn more about how to protect your pooch and look after their health in the summer, keep on reading.
1. Protect Your Pooch’s Paws
Sure, summertime is the best time of year to take your dog out for a long walk. But bear in mind that their paws are just as sensitive as our feet.
Constant contact with the ground at a high temperature can not only burn your pet’s paws but also cause them to overheat. If you want to protect their sensitive paws, try dog-friendly paw protectors (aka dog walking shoes), or choose another time of day to take them on a walk.
The best times are usually early morning or much later in the afternoon once it’s cooled down.
2. Offer Your Pup Plenty of Water and Shade Access
When you take your dog out for a walk during the summer months, make sure they’ve had a good drink of water beforehand. It’s also a good idea to bring a bottle of water along with you, and before you notice any signs of overheating, regularly offer your dog a water top-up.
Make sure to walk in areas of shade where you can to keep yourself and your pooch from overheating.
3. Reduce the Likelihood of Hole Digging
This may sound like an odd one, but dogs tend to dig into the ground as a way to avoid heat. The soil underneath the surface is much cooler and they tend to sit in this nature den to cool down — not as a naughty habit!
If you’d prefer to keep your pooch clean and your yard intact, there a number of creative ways to keep them cool. For one, you could buy them a kiddie blow-up pool and fill it with water for them to lie in. Otherwise, you could lay down a wet towel for them to lie on, or keep your sprinkler(s) on for a while to cool them down.
4. Take Your Pup for a Swim
While your dog may enjoy a game of catch or frisbee, it’s not exactly the best option for exercise in the sweltering heat of the day. If you have access to a swimming pool, the ocean, or a nearby river or dam, try taking your dog for a swim instead.
Be wary of the fact that not all dogs are 100 percent comfortable with water, so never throw your dog into the pool or any other body of water. Ease them in, instead.
If you’re taking your dog to the beach, be wary of the tides at the beach, as well as random items in the sand such as fishing line, hooks, and trash. Always rinse your dog well with fresh water after a saltwater swim.
When it comes to freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds, make sure the water is clean and safe for them to swim in, first. Look out for algae, especially blue-green algae which can be toxic for dogs.
5. Never Leave Your Dog Unattended In the Car
Heatstroke is a very real reality in dogs. So, if you’ve heard this tip once, you’ve heard it a thousand times — never leave your dog alone in a car during the summer months. Heatstroke can develop in a matter of minutes in dogs, which could eventually lead to suffocation.
If you have errands to run and you cannot bring your dog inside, it’s best to leave them at home while you’re out and about. If you’re taking a summer road trip with your dog, make sure to bring plenty of water and a dish and stop for regular drink, pee and walk breaks.
6. Watch Out for Canine Sunburn
Yes, despite all that fur, even dogs can get sunburnt. This is especially true for pale-coat dogs. The areas that are most susceptible to sunburn include the nose, ears, and areas with sparse amounts of hair.
As we all know, sun damage is not healthy in both humans and our pets and can even lead to skin cancer in both cases. If your dog has skin allergies, sunburn can also make this situation far worse.
In order to avoid cases of sunburn, try to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight during the warmest time of the day, i.e. between 11 am and 3 pm. Otherwise, you could put a dog t-shirt over your pooch to protect vulnerable areas while they’re outside.
There are also non-toxic versions of human sunblock that you can use on pets or invest in one that’s specifically formulated for dogs.
What Does Heatstroke Look Like in Dogs?
Now that you know a little more about how to protect your dog in the summer, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the signs of heatstroke.
As mentioned, heatstroke can happen in just a few minutes in dogs. This is because they cannot sweat through their skin like humans. Dogs rely on panting and also release heat through their paw pads and nose. In essence, it’s like wearing a thick winter coat on a summer’s day and can’t take it off.
So, what are the symptoms? Look out for excessive amounts of panting, unusual dribbling, and dogs that appear weak, overtired, or cannot stand up. They may also have bloodshot eyes, pale gums, and skin that has lost some of its elasticity.
If you notice any of these symptoms, try to cool down your pooch right away. Give them plenty of water, spray them down (gently) with a hose, and watch over them carefully. If their symptoms do not improve, visit your vet right away.
Make Pet Health and Dog Safety a Priority
Our pets are just as much a part of the family as our children or any other family member, so why wouldn’t you make dog safety and their overall health a priority?
With Dog Deep, you have access to a world of knowledge on how to take better care of your canine companions. Be sure to explore the rest of our site for top tips on dog health, diet, dog training, grooming, and so much more.