Summer can be so much fun for you and your dog! There are so many things for people and pets to do together during the warm weather months. But, the higher temperatures also mean higher risks of various outdoor injuries, ear and skin infections, and other summer health and safety issues. Dogs can be especially vulnerable to heat stroke and heat-related injuries.
To ensure that your dog can safely enjoy being outdoors, observe these seven important dog summer safety tips to protect your dog from injury and health hazards in hot weather.
7 Summer Safety Tips for Dogs
Here are some dog summer safety and health tips to help make sure your dog is protected and can enjoy summer fun with you this year and for years to come:
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
To help your dog stay cool and hydrated, keep cool water in the pet water bowl. (Very warm water in hot weather can discourage animals from drinking.) Bring a bottle of water for your dog when playing outdoors, going for walks, or riding in a car with your dog. Offer the water frequently.
Make Sure Your Pet Is in the Shade and Not in Direct Sun
Dogs enjoy lying in the warm sun on days that are not too hot. But, they can overheat in direct sunlight, which can potentially lead to heatstroke. See the sections below for signs of heatstroke in dogs and the emergency actions to take.
Avoid Taking Our Dog Out in the Midday Heat
Be cautious when choosing hours for walking your dog. Walk during the cooler morning or evening temperatures and stay in the AC during midday. Watch out for hot asphalt, concrete, or other surfaces that can injure your dog’s paws. Bring a bottle of cold water to help your dog stay hydrated and cool. Avoid hot road surfaces for walking.
Give Your Dog a Kiddie Pool
An exciting and fun way to keep your dog cool is to let him enjoy swimming, splashing around, or lying down in his own kiddie pool. Reserve a few old bath towels for doggie towels to dry your dog after pool playtime.
Don’t Put Your Dog in a Dog House in Hot Weather
Dog houses are unsafe for a pet in hot temperatures. They trap heat and prevent airflow. Let your pet stay outside the dog house. Make sure you provide access to shade and cool water during all sunlight hours. Consider installing a pet door to give your dog free access to your air-conditioned house when it becomes too hot outside.
Don’t Walk Your Dog on Hot Surfaces
Do not allow your pet to walk on hot asphalt, cement, or other surfaces. It can burn your pet’s paws and raise his/her body temperature and cause overheating. Avoid driving with your dog in the back of a hot truck bed or in the direct sun. Hot metal burns paws. If you must walk in midday, consider using doggy boots to protect your pet’s paws.
Do Not Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car
It may seem obvious that dog safety does not allow leaving a pet in a parked car in hot weather. It often proves to be a deadly mistake. When the outside temperature is 80 degrees, it can soar to nearly 100 degrees in a car after just 10 minutes and continues rapidly escalating to 114 degrees after just 30 minutes and so on. Leaving windows partly open in such conditions is typically not enough to save your pet from potentially severe organ damage or death.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs
Taking timely appropriate action and obtaining veterinary attention promptly may prevent or help your pet overcome complications from heatstroke. See the section below about what to do if your dog appears to be in distress due to heat exposure.
Signs of heatstroke in dogs may include:
- Appearing to be in discomfort
- Excessively panting and/or drooling
- Thick drool
- Seeming disoriented
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Legs wobbling
- Having seizures
Be aware that many complications due to heatstroke may appear multiple days after excessive heat exposure.
Know What to Do If Your Dog Has Heatstroke
Heatstroke is a serious risk for dogs on hot summer days. To help ensure dog safety in the summer heat, diligently look for signs that your dog is having difficulty coping with the heat. If you think your dog may be experiencing heatstroke, take these actions immediately:
- Take your dog to a cooler location.
- Apply ice packs to your dog’s stomach, paws, and face.
- Give your dog cool water to help cool him/her down.
- Call your veterinarian for instructions.
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