Summer is the season that offers many fun and sun-filled activities. You and your family may enjoy walking in the park, hiking, going to the beach, as well as traveling during the summer months. While your dog may want to be part of your summer fun, remember that hot weather can be uncomfortable for dogs, and may pose some potential risks. During the summer, your dog is more likely to be exposed to ticks and other insects, to sunburn, and even suffer from heat stroke. Follow our summer safety tips for keeping your dog happy and healthy as the temperature rises during these summer days!
How Can Dogs Beat the Summer Heat?
- Keep your dog inside on hot days where he can have air conditioning, or give him a shady place to hang out. Dog houses can trap heat in the summer, so avoid using them as a shelter for dogs.
- You should never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. It can reach 100 degrees inside a car in just 20 minutes.
- Always provide cool water for your dog.
- Avoid walking your dog on extremely hot days. Instead, take a walk in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
- Do not expose your dog to asphalt or sand for a prolonged period and extreme hot hours, as it will burn their paws.
- There are some dog breeds that are brachycephalic, meaning they have a short nose and head and do not pant as efficiently as dogs with longer noses. Examples of this breed are bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chin, and Pekingese.
Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy During Summer
- During summer, make sure your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations since they tend to spend more time outdoors, having more contact with other animals.
- Avoid letting dogs eat or play on lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions). Similarly do not let dogs play on or near toxic plants or flowers.
- Maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness of your dog.
- Consult your dog’s vet for routine checkups to detect early issues.
Going to the Beach Safety Tips
- Check with the beach’s restrictions or requirements. While some beaches allow dogs others do not, and there may be limited hours for your fur babies.
- Provide a sun shade for your dogs, such as a beach tent or covered beach pen.
- Keep your dog hydrated at all times.
- Apply sunscreen to your dog’s nose, ears, and coat to prevent sunburn. Some dog breeds are prone to sunburns like those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin.
- Monitor your dog’s activities during your trip to the beach. Running on wet sand can make his paw pads blister, and a dog that is unfit can pull a tendon or ligament.
- Salt from seawater can make your dog sick. Avoid it at all times.
- Bathe your dog at the end of the day. Ocean water contains minerals that can damage your dog's coat.
Tips for Keeping Your Dogs Safe in the Water
- Allow your dog to go for a swim if they are comfortable in the water. Check your dog’s swimming skills and monitor them at all times.
- If your dog needs it, put a life jacket on them.
- Do not force your dog to get into the water. Some love it while others are afraid and may take time to get used to it. Swimming is tiring so don’t let your dog overdo it. Watch out for strong ocean tides and keep your dog safe.
- Never leave your dog unattended in water.
Traveling During Summer with Your Dog
- Always check with the airlines' guidelines and restrictions before traveling. Some airlines do not allow animals to board during hot weather because of the dangers to your pet’s health and safety. Some airlines only allow flying pets in the morning or in the evening.
- Put ice packs in the dog's crate if you plan to ship your dog. Water-filled soft drink bottles that have been frozen are ideal.
- Provide fresh water, as well as frozen water that will thaw during the trip.
- Put ice packs wrapped in a towel in your dog's crate to keep him cool in the car. The crate should be well-ventilated.
- Use a cooling pad as his bed or crate liner.
- Cover your car windows with a sunshade.
- Be sure to bring along fresh water and a bowl, as well as a tarp or tent so you can set up a shady spot when you stop.
Monitor Your Dog for Any Signs of Dehydration or Heat Stroke
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in. Dogs lose fluids from their paws through panting, urination, and even evaporation.
Here are the symptoms of dehydration that you should watch out for in your dog:
- Gums and nose are dry
- Thick saliva
- Dry, tired and sunken eyes
- Their coat is stiff to the touch
Heatstroke occurs when a dog has prolonged exposure to excessive heat. It is deadly and the damage varies depending on the temperature and the length of time the dog was exposed.
Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs
- Excessive panting
- Reddened gums
- Loss of consciousness
- Uncoordinated movement
How to Prevent Your Dog from Having a Heatstroke
- Remove the dog from the hot environment as soon as possible.
- The dog should not be given aspirin to lower its temperature since it leads to other complications.
- Let your dog drink as much cool water as he wants without forcing him.
- Put a towel soaked in cold water on the back of your dog to cool them off.
Keep these pointers in mind if you want to enjoy the great outdoors with your canine companion this summer. With only a few precautions, you and your dog will be able to safely enjoy the summer together. After you have taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your pet from the potential dangers of summer, you will be able to kick back, have fun, and enjoy this wonderful season!