It's summertime, and without a doubt, that comes with warmer weather and rising temperatures. As you and your furry friend take a walk in the sunshine, you may not realize how hot it can get for them. Dogs don't sweat like humans do, so they rely on panting to regulate their temperature and cool down. When the heat gets too intense for them or when heat waves strike, serious health risks can arise.
We know you want to keep your pets safe, so in this article, we'll talk about five hot weather safety tips to help keep your dog safe in the summer heat.
How do dogs keep themselves cool in the summer?
First, it's important to understand how dogs regulate heat stress and their body temperature. To cool down, a dog will pant to increase the evaporation of water from their tongue and lungs. They also release heat through their paw pads, releasing up to 10 percent of the body’s total heat output.
Dogs, just like humans, also try to cool down by seeking out shady spots and cool surfaces that absorb less heat. By providing your dog with lots of shady spots to cool down, you can ensure their safety and comfort in the summer heat.
Tip 1: Ensure Adequate Water and Shade Availability
Making sure your dog has plenty of fresh, cool water and access to shade during the summer is essential.
Fresh, clean water is essential for your dog to stay hydrated and remain healthy when it's hot outside. When temperatures rise, dogs can quickly become dehydrated without enough fluids in their system. This can lead to several health problems, including overheating and exhaustion.
Providing them with plenty of fresh water with ice cubes throughout the day will help ensure they don't suffer from these issues. Another popular solution is giving your dog ice cubes. When dogs lick ice cubes, this not only keeps them entertained but helps keep them cool.
Create shady places to increase your pet's comfort
To provide your dog with a shady spot to rest, consider setting up an umbrella or a canopy over their resting area. If you don't have the space for this, planting some trees in your backyard is a great way to create natural tree shade and make your pet more comfortable on hot days.
Many owners who live in a warm climate, often end up investing in a kennel with a roof that can help keep pets around them cool even when temperatures rise.
Tip 2: Monitor Exertion Levels
When it's hot outside, dogs can quickly become overheated if they expend too much energy. This is why it's important to monitor their activity when temperatures start to climb.
Dangers of overexertion in hot weather
When a dog overexerts itself in extremely hot weather, it can lead to heatstroke. This condition is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures and heavy physical activity. More specifically, it occurs when the body is unable to regulate its internal temperature, leading to a dangerously high core temperature.
Signs to look out for that indicate a dog has been exercising too much
When a dog has been exercising too much and is at risk of heatstroke, it may show signs such as excessive panting, rapid heart rate, disorientation, pale gums, lethargy, and glassy eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms during walks, it's best to stop immediately and give your pet a break in the shade.
Tips to reduce activity levels on hot days
On hot summer days, it's best to limit your dog's exercise to shorter, cooler periods such as the early morning and evening hours. Additionally, make sure you provide plenty of breaks for them in between activities and ensure he stays hydrated throughout the day.
If going out to the park or an outdoor area for a prolonged period, always go prepared with adequate water for you and your dog.
Tip 3: Never Leave Dogs Unattended in a Parked Car
Never leave pets unsupervised in a parked car during warm weather, even if you plan on being gone for just a few minutes. When temperatures rise, the inside of cars obstructs air flown and become ultra-hot. Instead, opt for other solutions such as bringing them into stores that allow pets, leaving them at home with a trusted friend or family member, or even taking them out.
The danger of leaving dogs in parked cars
When left in a parked car with no windows cracked, dogs and cats can suffer from dehydration, heatstroke, and even death. This is because when cars are parked in direct sunlight, the temperatures inside can quickly rise to dangerously high levels. This heat can't escape and will continue to build up until it's too late for your pet.
Strategies to avoid leaving a dog unattended in a car
If you plan on being gone for any prolonged period, the best option is to leave your pup at home with a friend or family member. Additionally, if you're traveling to a pet-friendly store or restaurant, it's usually safe to take them along and keep an eye on them.
Tip 4: Trim Fur Regularly
Imagine wearing a winter coat during the summer. Keeping your dog's fur trimmed during hot weather will help them stay cool. Dogs with longer coats may need regular brushing and grooming to ensure their fur isn't too thick or long for the summer months.
The advantages of trimming dogs' fur in hot weather
When dogs have too much hair, they can quickly become overheated while exercising or spending too much time outdoors in the heat. This can put them at risk of developing heatstroke and other medical conditions associated with high temperatures.
Tips on how to give your dog a warm weather haircut
When trimming your pup's fur, always use sharp grooming scissors or clippers to ensure that you don't harm your pet's skin. Be sure to move slowly when cutting their fur and avoid sensitive areas, including around the eyes, ears, and nose. If unsure about how to do it correctly, consider consulting a professional groomer for help.
Tip 5: Avoid Hot Pavement Surfaces
Hot pavement surfaces can also pose serious risks to dogs during summertime. When exposed to high temperatures, these surfaces can quickly burn a pup's paw pads and lead to severe injuries.
The risks of walking on hot pavement surfaces
The pads on the bottom of a dog's paws are much more sensitive than human skin. When your pet's paws are exposed to hot pavement, these pads can quickly become burned and inflamed, leading to pain and discomfort for your furry friend.
Tips for protecting your pet from hot pavement surfaces
When taking your pup out for a walk in the summertime, make sure you stick to shaded areas with cooler temperatures. Additionally, test the ground using the back of your hand before allowing your pet to walk on it. If it feels too hot for you, chances are it will be too hot for them as well.
Lastly, consider investing in protective booties to provide an extra layer of protection against hot pavement. These are usually made from breathable materials and can help keep your pup's paws cool during walks.
How can I help my dog recover if they are overheating?
If your pup has been overexerted by extreme heat and is showing signs of heat stroke, the best thing to do is move them into a cool area such as an air-conditioned room. Once there, begin slowly cooling their body temperature by wetting their fur with lukewarm water and using a fan to circulate air. If you have a cooling body wrap available, this is also a great solution.
Additionally, you can offer them small amounts of cool water while monitoring their condition closely. If symptoms persist or worsen, be sure to take them to the vet for immediate medical attention.
Can dogs get sunburned?
Yes, dogs can get sunburned. This is usually more common in pups with lighter fur or those that have been shaved down for the summer. To protect their skin from the sun's rays, consider applying a pet-safe sunscreen before taking them outside.
Additionally, keep your pup out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods and make sure they stay hydrated throughout the day.
How can I protect my dogs skin during the summer?
To protect your pup's skin during the summer, it's important to give them regular baths with high-quality shampoo and brush their fur regularly. This will help keep their coat clean and free of dirt or debris that can lead to irritating skin conditions.
Also, by adding supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids to your pup's diet, you can promote healthy skin and a glossy coat. Plus, these supplements also contain anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness and itching associated with certain skin conditions.
Our final message to owners
The hot summer months and warmer weather can be a great time to spend outdoors with your pup. However, it's important to take certain precautions to keep them safe and healthy during these times.
By following these five safety tips, you can ensure your pets are safe and that your furry friend stays cool and comfortable even when temperatures start to climb.
Not only will this help prevent issues such as heatstroke or burns on their paws, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that your pet is being well taken care of in the hot weather. So set up a shady spot for them to rest, limit their activity levels, never leave them unattended in a parked car, trim their fur regularly, and avoid hot pavement surfaces at all costs. With these tips in mind, you can have a fun and safe summer together with your furry friends and your pup.