As temperatures spike this summer, don’t forget your dog. Every year, hundreds of well-meaning dog owners take their pups on summer outings only to find out later that their pooch is sunburned, or worse, suffered heatstroke.
Fortunately, with a little awareness and preplanning, your dog doesn’t need to suffer such fates. First, it’s good to recognize the dogs most at risk because frankly, there are plenty of dogs who are resilient and others you want to be more careful with when it comes to hot days.
Let’s take the biggie, heatstroke.
In general, senior dogs, any dog with health issues and breeds with flat faces like pugs are at greater risk for heatstroke than other dogs.
Heatstroke is a non-nonsense hazard that can escalate in minutes and be fatal. Symptoms of heatstroke include: heavy panting, drooling, racing heartbeat, fever of 103 degrees, and even seizures. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian right away.
However, besides heatstroke, there are other summertime hazards like sunburn and burned paw pads due to scorching sidewalks. Here are five considerations to keep in mind.
Protect Your Dog from the Punishing Summer Sun
1- Exercise in the Early Morning or Evening – avoid mid-day runs when the sun is at it’s strongest. Otherwise, your dog’s body has to work exceptionally hard to stay cool and since dogs don’t sweat, it’s difficult on their bodies’ and causes them to work harder.
2—Use the Hose – cool water is your dog’s best friend, but you don’t have to hose your dog down, go for the ground. Before you let Rover out onto a steaming patio, steps, or sidewalk, hose those bricks/concrete//tile down to protect your pup’s paw pads.
3- Use a Cool-Coat – you might not think of a coat as a cooling device but when this one is wet, it wicks the heat away from your dog. It’s a 100% synthetic fabric specially designed to keep your dog cool, not wet. You can even put your hand under the coat and feel your dog’s cool back.
4 – Never Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car in Summer -- According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a parked car is a possible deathtrap for your dog in the heat.
In fact, if it’s above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the car can heat up to a dangerous level within minutes and it doesn’t matter if you crack the windows. The car is still full of hot hair and the dog is panting to try and cool down but they’re only breathing more hot air. This can lead to heat stroke which has long-term organ damage, cardiovascular problems and death.
5 – Protect Against Sunburn – yes, dogs can get sunburned and it’s more common than you might think. The most sensitive areas for dogs are the tips of the ears and the muzzle, a spritz of dog-friendly sunscreen will protect them from burning rays. However, if you have a short haired dog, then your dog will need all over sunscreen.
However, don’t use people sunscreen on your dog as that can have chemicals toxic for dogs. Instead, you want to use dog-friendly sunscreens that are safe for pups.
Now that you know some of the common summer dangers for dogs, you can plan ahead and make sure you have summer fun that you can extend into fall.
Do you have summer activities planned with your dog? Please share below!