With summer here we always think of ways to keep ourselves safe and healthy, but did you ever think of how to make sure your dog is safe during these hot months? Just like people, dogs need to stay hydrated, be protected from the sun, and kept out of the heat. Since we all love spending time outdoors with our furry pal, we decided to compile a list of ways you can keep Fido safe during the summer.
1. ALWAYS PROVIDE LOTS OF FRESHWATER
Regardless if your dog has gone for a long walk or is just hanging around the house, they need to have an adequate water supply. Pets can quickly get dehydrated during the summer, and it is your job to make sure they have easy access to freshwater whenever possible. Remember to check their water bowls throughout the day.
2. KNOW THE SYMPTOMS OF OVERHEATING
Dogs can easily get overheated if they have been left outside—or, even worse, in a hot car. Signs of an overheated dog include excessive drooling or panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, weakness, or even collapsing. Overheating can also cause seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. If you believe a dog is overheating, cool it off by placing ice packs in their hot spots, like their armpits or leg creases. Then call a vet immediately.
3. DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET UNSUPERVISED AROUND A POOL
If your dog doesn’t know how to swim, be sure to slowly introduce them to water and have them wear a floatation device whenever they are at the pool or lake. You can find accessories like this at your local pet store or online, and make sure to measure your dog to ensure the best fit. After a swim session, thoroughly rinse your dog to help remove chlorine or salt from their fur. And don’t let your dog drink pool water!
4. WATCH YOUR DOG’S FEET
Dogs don’t have a luxury of wearing shoes like we do. Even when the temperature is a comfortable 75 degrees, the asphalt can quickly rise to 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to check the ground temperature before taking your dog for a walk, and if your dog keeps lifting their legs while walking, the ground is probably too hot for them.
If you’re worried about your dog’s paws, you can buy little booties for them. It might look funny at first, but these shoes will help protect them from Mother Nature.
5. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR
Even if you’re running into the store, the temperature of your car can increase rapidly. The vehicle can easily be 20 degrees hotter than the air outside, and in 85-degree heat, it only takes ten minutes for your car to reach 102 degrees. Cars are not a safe place for dogs during the summer, and they can quickly die from heatstroke. Michigan Senate Bill 496 makes it illegal to leave or confine an animal in an unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal. This means it is a felony if you leave your dog locked in the car in extreme weather conditions.
If you see a dog trapped in a car, here is what you can do without breaking the law. First, you are not allowed to break the window; instead, take a photo of the car’s license plate and call the police. Stay with the animal until the police arrive. Once the police release the dog, check to see if it is overheated and either visit a vet or give it plenty of water and shade.
6. APPLY SUNSCREEN TO YOUR DOG
Fido can get sunburned just like us, especially if they have light-colored fur. Your local pet store will sell dog sunscreen that you can easily apply to your dog to help protect them from the sun when you are romping around during the summer.
7. GET ON A FLEA, TICK, AND HEARTWORM REGIMEN
Fleas and ticks come out in warm weather, and if you love camping or exploring, then your dog needs to be on flea and tick medication. If your dog gets a tick, and you don’t act fast enough, it can lead to potentially fatal complications. Also, make sure they are protected with a heartworm medication since mosquitoes can easily bite your dog and transfer the heartworm parasite to them.
8. NEVER SHAVE YOUR PET
By giving your dog a haircut, you might think you’re helping them stay cool, but might actually be making it worse! A pet’s coat is naturally designed to keep them cool during the summer, and by cutting it, you’re ruining their natural protection. Giving them a tiny trim is fine, but make sure to leave at least a full inch of hair to help protect their skin.
9. KEEP FIREWORKS AT BAY
With summer comes the 4th of July, which means a lot of scary fireworks for your dog. Make sure your dog is well-secured during this time of the year by locking them in a safe space and not leaving them outside. If a dog is having an anxiety attack from fireworks, they typically try to run away from the sound, which could result in a lost dog. Do your best to keep your dog safe and away from all the action on the 4th of July.
10. BE DILIGENT ABOUT YOUR WALKING HOURS
Make sure to walk your dog in the cooler hours, like early mornings or late evenings when the sun isn’t as hot. Although a 1 p.m. walk may sound like the best time for you, the weather is typically hot, and your dog may easily get overheated, so plan accordingly.
Talking to a vet about your dog’s safety during the summer is always a great tip. They will give you advice on how to treat your dog and what to look out for. Just remember, if it is too hot for you, then it is probably way too hot for your dog!
Published Kudos Magazine Volume 5.3 By Tami Benedict