Summer is the best season to have fun, not only for us but also for our beloved pooches. It is the perfect season to bond with your pet, but the brutal heat can make your fur baby fall ill! I almost lost my Akita to heatstroke, and I vowed to never let him go through that pain again.
You don’t need to cut down on the fun, though. Just keep your pets safe during the summer by following these dog summer safety tips:
1. NEVER Leave Your Dog In The Car, EVER!
You will be surprised how many people know the dangers of this hazard and still leave their dogs in there. It doesn’t matter if you just popped in the store for a few minutes to buy a drink. It can take minutes for the heatstroke to set in, especially if the windows are down.
For example, if it is 78° outside, the temperature inside the vehicle your dog is waiting in can reach up to 90 ° if it is parked under direct sunlight. After an hour, that number can climb to 113°.
So your loyal dog will be slowly dying of dehydration because he trusts you completely. Prevent a tragedy by leaving your pet home on hot days. If you have to have him in the car with you, bring his bowl and water and shop some other time.
2. Do Not Leave Your Dog Unsupervised Around A Pool
If you have a playful dog and a swimming pool, you have a recipe for disaster if you can’t control the former. Not all pooches are good swimmers. Smaller breeds, such as Basset Hounds, Pugs, Dachshunds, Corgis, etc. can sink like a stone if they accidentally wade into deeper water. Their legs are just too short to keep them paddling and, thus, afloat.
Even if your dog is a good swimmer, it doesn’t mean he is out of the woods completely. Introduce your pet to the water gradually and make sure they wear floatation devices as well. Plus, once they are done with their swim, rinse and dry their coat thoroughly to remove chlorine, which can otherwise prove poisonous.
3. Ensure Your Dog Has Plenty Of Shade And Water
If you want to stay out with your dog for hours at a stretch during the summer, make sure you keep water with you. Plus, make sure he has a nice, shady spot to sit or lie down in if the temperature starts to rise.
This is important because dogs cannot regulate their body heat as well as we can, so they cannot remain cool on their own. Prolonged exposure to heat can put your pet at risk of developing a heat stroke. We will discuss the symptoms you should look out for further on in the list.
The bottom line is if you don’t feel comfortable outside, your pet is suffering ten times worse. Keep your dog inside when temperatures reach these levels, and if you have to take them with you, keep them hydrated at all times.
4. Make Your Lawn Pet Friendly
During the summer, your lawn may harbor plants that can be toxic if consumed. If your dog or puppy is curious, chances are he will try to snap them up to see what they taste like.
These include azaleas that can cause heart failure and vomiting, heliotrope that can lead to liver failure, lilies that can cause kidney failure, and crocuses that can lead to multiple organ failure if consumed.
Even if you don’t have potentially deadly plants in your garden, your dog can still get into the fertilizer, which can cause an allergic reaction. Prevent a tragedy by removing toxic summer plants and keep all insecticides and fertilizers in a locked shed.
5. Barbecue Like A Responsible Dog Owner
It happens to every dog owner. You take your eyes from the grill for a second, and your pooch takes off with a hot dog or burger. Keeping him away from that meaty aroma can be a challenge, but one that you have to overcome to keep him safe during summer cookouts.
That’s because fatty leftovers and barbecue scraps can cause serious abdominal pain or even result in death. Similarly, corn on the cob and peach pits can lodge in your beloved pet’s intestines.
Your dog can even swallow charcoal briquettes that smell like roasted meat, including the lighter fluid that coats it. Prevent these incidents from taking place by keeping your dogs inside during a barbecue. If you cannot do that, supervise them constantly, so they don’t attempt to lick or steal from the hot grill.
6. Prevent Sunburn
Even if you have a shaggy dog, such as a Bearded Collie or an English Sheepdog, they aren’t protected from sunburn completely. The tips of the ears, the bridge of the nose, eyes, and abdomen don’t have that covering as such, so they get direct sun exposure. Just like exposed skin, it won’t take long for those areas to turn red and itchy with sunburn.
So if you take them out during summer on a particularly hot day, slather those parts with pet- friendly sunscreen or get a sun protector and nose soother as well. Plus, whenever you can, allow your pooch to rest in the shade to prevent heatstroke. This is particularly important for thin-haired breeds, such as Pit Bulls and Boxers.
7. Groom Your Dog Regularly
Most dogs go through a regular shedding cycle at the start of summer, which rids them of their winter coat. But some dislodged fur may remain on their body. This can make them heat up fast, especially when temperatures reach boiling point.
If you have a long-haired dog, such as an Afghan Hound or Husky, remove that fur yourself by grooming your pooch regularly. If you can’t do it yourself, take them to the groomers and brush their coat daily as well.
This will keep your pet cool and comfortable during the summer. While you are at it, check them for fleas and ticks, which can spread fast during hot weather conditions. Doing so can prevent diseases.
Recommended Reading: How I Use Coconut Oil to Prevent Fleas & Ticks
8. Keep Your Dog Away From Contaminated Water
That lake may look cool and inviting, but the water can prove deadly for your dog. The blue-green algae floating on the top is toxic for animals, and the coliform bacteria that are common in large bodies of water are equally hazardous. If your pet ingests it, he can die in an hour.
Prevent this from happening by ensuring your dog is always on a leash during walks. Keep a lookout for advisory notices that warn the public about coliform content. If your pet does go in, rinse him off with clean water thoroughly and give him a proper bath when you get home.
9. Practice Safe Travel Habits During The Summer
Many airlines will refuse to ship animals during this season because of inherent dangers due to the heat. Some allow travelers to take their pets with them on early morning or evening flights.
If you have to travel with your dog in that heat, make sure his crate has ice packs or an ice blanket he can keep cool on. Plus, provide a container of fresh and frozen water that can thaw throughout the trip and remain ice cold at the same time.
If you are traveling by car, make sure the vehicle is well-ventilated, the windows are shaded with a sunshade, and your pooch has plenty of water to drink during the drive.
10. Prevent Heat Stroke By Looking Out For Symptoms
No matter the level of activity you and your best furry friend indulge in during the summer, your dog can get a heatstroke without you being aware of it. It’s a severe medical emergency that has to be taken care of immediately, or it can lead to death.
Monitor your pet for early signs of heatstroke, such as balance issues, excessive panting, drooling, and red gums. Symptoms that can indicate advanced stages of the condition include vomiting, white gums, labored breathing, and lethargy.
If your dog shows any of those signs, take measures immediately. First, take him inside out of the sun and take his temperature. If it is higher than 104°, he needs to cool down fast. Do that by spraying him with cool water and drape drenched towels around him.
Do not use chilled water! The point is to decrease his body temperature slowly and gradually, or your dog will go into shock. Once that is done, visit the vet immediately to ensure your dog is out of danger. The heat may have caused hidden complications that may prove deadly if left undiagnosed.
Better yet, prevent the condition from setting in by limiting walks and exposure to the hot weather. As a responsible dog owner, you should ensure your fur baby is as safe from the elements as you are so both of you can have fun in the sun. A few simple dog summer safety tips can cause wonders.
- “Community and Environment.” Washington State Department of Health
- “How Hot Can the Interior of a Car Get – and How Quickly?” HeatKills
- Sandoval, Adriana. “What Causes Low Body Temperature In Dogs?” IHeartDogs.com, 13 July 2019
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