Who doesn’t love a warm, sunny summer day spent outside with a furry friend? For many of us, summer is a time for soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh air as we enjoy the outdoors with our pets—especially after being cooped up inside during a long winter!
That said, those rising temperatures can get pretty uncomfortable; sometimes, the summer heat can even be dangerous for our dogs. Keep reading for some crucial hot weather safety tips to keep your dog safe and comfortable all summer long.
Tip #1: Keep Your Dog Hydrated.
Dehydration occurs when the body is losing more fluid than it’s taking in. On a particularly hot day, you should expect your dog to drink more water than usual. The same applies for days when he’s more active than usual. If he’s especially active on a hot summer day, be extra sure to keep water handy at all times!
Be sure Fido always has clean, cool water readily available at home; when you’re out, bring along a collapsible water bowl or a dog water bottle.
Tip #2: Protect Your Pup’s Paws.
Because humans wear shoes, we don’t always realize how hot pavement can be. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, asphalt temperatures can reach as high as 135 degrees when the air temperature is at 86!
If it’s too hot for you to stand or walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog. Protect your pup’s paws by going for walks when the weather is cool, such as mornings and late evenings. When possible, it also helps to stay in the shade and walk on the grass.
You can also invest in some protective paw wax or even dog booties, but be mindful of the fact that your dog may not be a fan of these options.
Tip #3: Don’t Shave Your Dog.
For many dogs, summer is the time for a fresh new look. Summer dog grooming isn’t just about appearance—it’s also about keeping your dog clean, cool, and comfortable.
Depending on your dog’s coat, a fresh summer cut can help to keep him from overheating during the warmer months. It may be tempting to go all-out and shave his fur entirely in an effort to keep him cool, but this can actually be more harmful than beneficial. This is because most dog coats are already designed for temperature regulation, not to mention protection against sunburn and objects such as twigs and burrs.
If you’re not sure about which kind of haircut to give your dog this summer, don’t worry—a professional groomer will know what to do.
Tip #4: Provide Plenty of Shade.
One absolutely essential summer safety tip for dogs: make sure your dog has access to plenty of shade.
Not just any shade, though—Fido needs access to shady spots with plenty of airflow. It may seem logical that your pup’s doghouse is the perfect shady spot to hide from the sun, but confined spots like this can trap heat and actually make things worse.
If your dog spends a lot of time in your yard, make sure there are sufficient shady spots such as trees or tarps (in addition to plenty of fresh, cool water) to keep him from overheating.
Tip #5: Never Leave Your Dog Alone in a Car.
Never, ever leave your dog unsupervised in a parked car. Even if it isn’t a particularly sunny day, the inside of a car can heat up quickly, leading to overheating. This isn’t just uncomfortable for your dog; it can be fatal.
Leaving your dog alone in a car isn’t just a bad idea—in several states, it’s illegal. If you have to leave your dog in the car while you run an errand, bring a friend to stay behind and supervise him (plus, that way you can safely leave the car running with the air conditioner on).
Signs Your Dog is Overheating
When you’re out with your dog, it’s important to keep a close eye on him to check for any signs of overheating.
Signs your dog is too hot include:
- Heavy panting
- Excessive thirst
- Glazed eyes
- Dizziness or lack of coordination
- Rapid heartbeat
- Bright red gums
- Excessive drooling
As soon as you notice any signs of overheating, bring your dog inside or to a shady area and encourage him to drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. If possible, apply ice packs or a cold towel to his head, neck, and chest. It’s always a good idea to call your vet, too.
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