It’s summertime, and the weather is turning warmer. It’s a great time to get out and enjoy these beautiful days with your dog. As the temperatures heat up, there are some summer safety tips you should keep in mind.
Provide Plenty of Clean, Fresh Water
Just like humans, a dog’s body is made up of water. Humans and adult dogs are both made up of about 60% water, and water keeps your pooch healthy. And just like you, dogs can quickly become dehydrated in high temps and during heavy exercise.
When the weather is hot, dogs need three to four times the amount of water they usually drink. Make sure the water is from a clean source and replenished often. Water from ponds and puddles can contain microorganisms that can make your four-legged friend very sick. (1) Plus, water left in bowls can get hot in the sun, and most dogs won’t drink hot water.
If you are going to be enjoying time outside, bring water for both you and your pup.
Make Sure They Have Shade
Some dogs love to lay in the sun and soak up the heat. However, they can get overheated in too much direct sunshine. Provide plenty of shade so they can get up out of the sun.
There are also some great cooling pet pads and beds that can help your dog stay comfortable. These products have a cooling gel in them that helps wick body heat away from your pet.
Summertime is a great time for backyard grilling and picnics. Of course, you want your pup to join in the fun! But keep in mind that some foods that are popular with people are poisonous to your pet. For example, alcohol, chocolate, grapes and raisins, garlic, and onions are all foods that make dogs very sick. Another one to watch out for is xylitol, which is a sugar substitute used in things like sugar-free candy and peanut butter. It is very harmful to dogs and can cause liver failure. (2)
There are backyard barbecue favorites that are safe to share with your dog, however. Watermelons, carrots, green beans, strawberries, and blueberries are all good for you and safe for dogs. Just make sure to share them in moderation as occasional treats. Too much of anything can lead to an upset stomach.
Beware of Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitos
Are you going on long hikes? Warm weather also brings bugs. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos are all out and about. These nasty critters can carry diseases that can make your furry friend very sick. Talk to your vet about pest prevention and make sure your dog is up-to-date. Various treatments can help, including oral medications, topical ointments, and flea and tick collars. Talk to your veterinarian about what is best for you and your pet.
Consider a Life Vest
Not all dogs love water, and even those breeds that do can be overtaken by rough water and high waves. If you are going to be boating or swimming with your pooch, consider a life vest. Dogs are not born knowing how to swim, so unless your dog has plenty of experience in the water and around boats, a life jacket is a good idea. Life vests that come with a handle at the top are also useful if your dog accidentally falls in the water.
Keep an Eye out For Summer Time Chemicals
Chemicals for caring for summertime yards and lawns are dangerous. Lawn fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and mouse and rat poisons are all on the top ten most frequently reported poison dangers to dogs. (2) Keep these products in well-sealed containers on high shelves or in locked cabinets that your dog cannot reach.
Watch What Times You Go For Walks
One of the best ways you can bond with your dog is to go for walks or runs together. However, the heat in the middle of the day in the summer can be grueling. If your dog is a senior, has unusually thick fur, or is overweight, they are particularly sensitive to heat. Also, dogs with flatter faces, like pugs and Pekingese, have a higher risk of overheating since they can’t pant as effectively.
It’s not just the air temperatures you have to keep an eye on. When the sun shines down on the asphalt and cement, it can be scorching for paws. Their pads can burn in the heat.
When it gets hot, the best times for walks are early mornings and later in the evening when the air and ground have cooled down.
Don’t Shave Your Dog
Shaving your dog might seem like a simple solution. However, for some dogs, it is a bad choice. Shaving a dog with a double coat, for example, leaves the undercoat. That prevents cool air from getting to the skin. Also, just like people, dogs can get sunburned. If their fur has been shaved too close, it will no longer protect from the sun. Just like you, your dog can get sunburned and even skin cancer.
There are ways to trim a coat that can be helpful, but if you aren’t familiar with what’s best for your dog’s breed, talk to a professional groomer or your vet first.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
As a pet owner, you know not to leave your dog in a locked car. But heatstroke can still happen during regular summer activities.
The average internal temperature for a dog is 101 to 102.5 degrees. (3) If it rises above 108 degrees, they can suffer heatstroke, which can cause organ damage and even kill your pet.
Here are some signs of heatstroke:
- Panting and breathing heavily
- The animal appears weak with wobbly legs
- Your dog’s tongue becomes dark red or purplish
- Gums are dry or bright red
If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, move them to the shade. Offer them a drink of water and place a cool, damp towel on their body. Then contact your vet immediately.
Fireworks and Summer Thunderstorms
Many dogs have a hard time with loud, rumbling noises. How can you help them: keep your dogs indoors on days when people will be lighting off fireworks, like the Fourth of July. Turn on distracting noise, like music or the television. Some pet owners find that white noise machines or even the washing machine or dryer can help. There are also pressure wraps and vests that have been shown to be successful. If your pup suffers from extreme anxiety, talk to your vet about possible medications.
Summer and Pet Safety
Summer is an excellent time for people and their pets. There are all sort of enjoyable outdoor activities you can share with your furry friend. Keeping these safety tips in mind will make it a more enjoyable and comfortable experience for everyone. If you need training for your new dog go to www.healthfitplace.com/braintraindog
(1) “Investigation of a Microcystis Aeruginosa Cyanobacterial Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom Associated with Acute Microcystin Toxicosis in a Dog – Deon Van Der Merwe, Lionel Sebbag, Jerome C. Nietfeld, Mark T. Aubel, Amanda Foss, Edward Carney, 2012.”SAGE Journals, 17 May 2012, journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1040638712445768.
(2) “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.”ASPCA, www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets.
(3) Buzhardt, DVM, Lynn. “Taking Your Pet’s Temperature.”Vca_corporate, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/taking-your-pets-temperature.