Dogs love summertime… probably even more than we humans do! It’s the time of year they get to be on the go with Mom and Dad, taking in the sights and getting lots of sunshine and fresh air. While we all love taking our dogs out for those summertime hikes, picnics, and days at the beach, there are some precautions we need to take.
Dogs have a hard time cooling down when it’s hot because they don’t sweat as we do. Although they do sweat a little bit, it’s not enough to cool them off when the sun is beating down. Instead, they cool themselves by panting. The problem is, when it’s really hot, the air they’re breathing is also hot… meaning it’s not really cooling them off.
Follow these five tips to keep your dog safer this summer.
1. Do not leave your dog in a hot car.
This one really should go without saying, but there are sad stories every summer of dogs who died in when their owners left them in a hot car. It only takes minutes for a dog to get hot enough to get heatstroke, suffocate, and die in a hot car. Even on a day when outside temps are at 78 degrees, the temp in your car can quickly reach 90 degrees in the shade and a devastating 160 degrees in the sun. If you’re going to be stopping somewhere that you can’t take your dog in with you, just leave him at home!
2. Protect your dog from ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes.
Parasites present a whole host of serious problems for dogs, including heartworms, rocky mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease. Use monthly protection from your vet, especially in the summer months when pests are at their worst.
3. Take care of your dog’s paws.
Pay attention to surfaces lie concrete, asphalt, or metal that can get dangerously hot when the sun is beating down. Don’t let your dog walk on hot surfaces. Not only could he burn his paws, but he could also overheat.
4. Carry water with you and always provide shade.
Dogs need water when they’re hot and panting, so carry fresh water with you when you’re out with your dog on a hot day. Stay in the shade whenever possible to prevent overheating and sunburn.
5. Watch your dog’s weight.
Dogs tend to put on a few pounds over the winter. The good news is, summer is a great time for exercise, so take advantage of it! Dogs that stay at a healthy weight live about two or three years longer than dogs who are overweight. Just be careful not to overdo it, especially when it’s hot.
The most important thing you can do is pay attention to your dog. If he seems like he’s too hot, do something about it quickly… before he overheats. Have a blast with your dog this summer, just be sure to keep these tips in mind!