Useful Tips on How to Protect Your Dog in the Summer
Most dog owners like to bring their pets wherever they go. And, they especially like to take them outdoors. This is great when the weather is nice. After all, even in the winter, a dog’s fur coat comes in handy and provides the same protection as a parka or wool sweater.
However, in the heat of the summer, humans shed their coats and suit up in shorts and t-shirts. Dogs aren’t so lucky.
If you plan on having your dog outside in the heat of the summer sun, it is important to take precautions to protect your pet’s health. Fortunately, this is not hard to do.
Follow the tips below and your pet will be able to enjoy summertime with the rest of the family. And, you will be able to leave your pet without worrying about the harmful effects of hot weather.
Heat Related Illnesses
Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The worst cases can be fatal. Understanding the symptoms and knowing what to do in a heat emergency can prevent the worst from happening.
Heat exhaustion in dogs is often characterized by excessive panting and lethargy. If you suspect heat exhaustion has set in, act immediately by taking your pet to a cooler place or in front of a fan. Use room temperature water to dampen the fur and allow to air dry. Make sure plenty of fresh water is on hand and the dog drinks when ready.
Heat stroke is far more serious and is best treated by a veterinarian. Heat stroke will often cause a bright red tongue, thick and sticky saliva, and pale gums. Look for vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid panting. The worst cases can cause organ failure or coma. If left untreated, death may occur.
A Kennel with Shade for Outdoors
Dogs left outside need a source of shade during the summer. That’s why it’s important to take this into consideration when you go looking for the best dog kennel. You need to make sure a shade source is built into the design. Many feature full roofs and retractable awnings.
Some owners erect shade sails across their patios to be enjoyed by humans and canines alike. No matter what you use to block the sun, your dog will thank you when the temperatures rise.
Make Water a Priority
In high temperatures dogs should have access to fresh water at all times. Without the chance to hydrate, your pet’s ability to regulate temperature will be compromised and quickly lead to heat related illness. It is not enough to leave a small bowl of water by the back door for a dog left outside all day.
Your pet needs several bowls, kept in the shade, to survive the hottest days of the season. Consider investing in a self-watering system. They are relatively inexpensive and give you peace of mind if you are delayed in returning to your home.
If you are an active pet owner and like to take your dog hiking, walking, or running, take water along for Fido. Just like you, exercise in the heat makes canines thirsty. Collapsible bowls are available at most pet stores and can be easily expanded and filled when your dog needs a break. Even a few ounces can help fight off heat exhaustion if the signs are recognized early enough.
Stay Inside More Often
Your dog may not recognize when it is too hot to be outdoors and stay outside longer than is healthy. During the hottest summer months, try to restrict how much time your pet is spending in the backyard, especially during the hottest part of the day.
You may need to change your schedule for walks as well. Consider switching to early morning or evening exercise if you normally go for a walk in the afternoon. Dogs can become overwhelmed by heat quickly and far from home is not the ideal place to be when this happens.
Dress for the Season
Shaving your dog in the summer can be very helpful in regulating temperature. Removing fur from a densely coated breed like a Golden Retriever can reduce body temperature greatly. However, check to see if shaving is recommended for your particular dog.
Some breeds, such as Huskies, should not be shaved unless absolutely necessary. These breeds should be kept well-groomed to promote air flow. Always leave at least one inch of fur when shaving a dog so your pet will not be at risk for sunburn. For dogs with naturally thin fur, canine sunscreen is available to ward off burns.
Your dog’s paws are very sensitive and do not do well on hot surfaces such as cement or asphalt. If the pavement is too hot for you to hold your hand on it for more than three seconds, it is too hot for your pet’s feet. To protect the pads, booties are available in different sizes to fit most breeds. These accessories are especially great when hiking on rough terrain in all seasons.
Don’t Leave Fido in the Car
In the middle of summer, a car’s interior can quickly heat up to temperatures exceeding one hundred forty degrees. Leaving your pet in the car could rapidly result in heat exhaustion or worse. Plan your trips so your pet can either go with you into your stops or leave them at home.
Summer is a fun time of year and is all about enjoying yourself outdoors. It is only natural to want to include your favorite pet whenever fun in the sun beckons. Just remember, your dog cannot tell you when it is too hot, or starting to feel ill.
If you think it is hot outside, so does your pet. If you are wearing less or applying sunscreen to prepare for the day’s activities, your dog will require preparation as well. If you are guzzling water because of the weather, Fido probably also needs a drink. Protecting your dog is mostly common sense. Remembering these simple tips will get your pet through the dog days of summer without mishap.