Seasons are changing and summer is approaching, which means planning for more time outdoors in the summer heat. This can be a time that is both exciting and stressful. While we are putting on our Hawaiian shirts and sunblock, we have to keep our wonderful dog companions in mind. Keeping them happy and safe during the summer is also a daunting task for those who can’t go a day into the hot season without a complete sunburn. Read on for all you need to know as you prep for summer with your dog.
Dog parents’ biggest fear is having their pet suffer from heat stroke when they just had a good time at the beach, in the backyard, or even the porch. These are some of the signs to watch for if you think your pet is experiencing heat stroke:
- Excessive panting and drooling
- Weakness, collapsing when trying to walk or stand
- Glassy eyes
- High heart rate
But fear not, the following three tips and details are effective ways of keeping your pet safe from the sizzling heat of the summer months.
Panting is the dog’s way to cool down when they get too hot but sometimes it is not enough. Ways to keep our pets cool during the summer is simple: what do you do when you get too hot?
Going indoors where it is air conditioned might be the first response. It is important to note that dogs do not have the same threshold as humans when it comes to being in the heat for long periods of time due to their fur. Making sure you bring your pets in before it becomes too much for them is key to avoiding any heat stroke incidents.
If your pet has to stay outdoors, provide plenty of shade for them to take refuge in. Large box fans can provide a much needed breeze for really stifling days in the summer. Make sure to provide lots of water that is refreshed throughout the day.
Cooling jackets and mats are also great ways to combat the heat. The cooling jackets are commonly used for dogs that have to work or need a lot of outdoor exercise. The mats can be used for outdoor only dogs and for those that just like to lounge around.
If you have a water dog or one that just simply likes water, busting out the lawn sprinkler is a must. Your canine companion will love to chase around the spouts of water while getting cooled off by it at the same time. Purchasing even wildier hose hookups that are specifically made for summer time play is definitely a good investment as well.
Do not leave pets in your car!!
As a rule of thumb, placing a bare foot on the pavement outside to see how hot it is before going on a walk with your dog is a good idea. Paw pads are skin calloused skin but it can only do so much to protect against the overwhelming heat that collects on sidewalks and roads.
To avoid burns and other injuries, plan your walks early in the morning before the sun gets too high or in the evening. Stick to walking them on the grassy areas on your trip outside if you have to go during the day. Doggy boots are also a good option if you have a pet that needs to exercise a lot. Make sure the boot material is breathable and has a thick sole to protect against the dangerous heat of the ground.
Lastly, water is essential to all activities during the summer. Constantly refresh and refill your canine’s water bowl during the heat; it is also a good idea to put out multiple water bowls so your pet does not have to go far for a drink. Water fountain bowls are also great because they keep the water moving, which discourage nasty mosquitoes from laying eggs and creating a whole new problem.
However, some issues can occur with our pups especially with those that practically inhale their water whenever they get the chance. Slow water bowls are awesome at only allowing a little bit of water to escape for our companions to drink, forcing them to slow down. A bonus as well is that it keeps water from splashing and your pet trailing slobber all over the house.
Some dogs love to crunch on ice cubes as a treat. While ice helps cool down and hydrate your pet, too much at once can lead to shock in the body. Allow your pet to cool down gradually from being outside and give them ice cubes sparingly.
This article was written by guest columnist, John Woods. John is the founder of All Things Dogs, a publication built to educate over 40,000,000 dog owners on how to care for their dogs.