Weather is warming up all around the country, creating opportunities for fun in the sun. But if temperatures get too hot, the fun can quickly turn to danger for your beloved pup.
Here are a few ways you can keep your dog cool and safe on sizzling summer days:
- Minimize your dog’s exposure to the outdoors during the hottest parts of the day. That may mean taking walks early in the morning or late in the evening—when the temperatures are cooler—rather than in the middle of the day.
- Be mindful of the surfaces your dog is walking on. Asphalt sidewalks can get extremely hot and can actually burn your pup’s paws. Grassy areas or dirt paths are better options on hot days.
- If your dog needs to be outside, provide shade and plenty of fresh water.
- Never leave your pet in the car on a warm day. The temperature inside a car can reach a dangerous level very quickly. How quickly? Watch the following video to find out.
Watch for signs of heatstroke.
Heatstroke can be life-threatening for dogs. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet shows any of the following signs of overheating:
- Excessive panting
- Brick-red gums
- Lethargy or weakness
- Confusion or lack of responsiveness to commands
Certain dogs are more prone to heatstroke—in particular those with shorter faces and noses, such as Pugs, Boxers and Shi Tzus. Overweight pets and those with heart or respiratory diseases are also more at risk for overheating on hot days. So you may need to take extra precautions to keep them cool.
Be water-wise: Supervise dogs when they swim.
If you have a pool or access to a body of water, you may find that your dog enjoys taking a dip to cool off in the summer heat. In fact, if you have a Labrador Retriever or Portuguese Water Dog, you probably have a hard time keeping your pup out of the water. Such breeds are natural swimmers compared to Dachshunds, Bulldogs and like-bodied breeds.
Regardless of your dog’s innate swimming abilities, keep these precautions in mind:
- Always supervise your dog when he or she is in the water.
- Use a dog life vest. This is very important for dogs who enjoy water but may not be strong swimmers. But life vests can be helpful for strong swimmers, too, when they get tired and need a rest.
- Try to prevent your dog from swallowing too much water from pools, lakes or other bodies of water. Chemicals in pools or salt water from the ocean can cause stomach upset, and open water can be a source of Giardia.
We hope this post helps you keep your pup safe. With a few common-sense precautions and a little vigilance, summer is a great time to be a pet parent!