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Summer has officially arrived! That means as temperatures rise, we flock to the outside to soak up the warm weather, and of course, we take our pups along with us. Because who doesn’t love being outside in the summer? However, while you and I can voice when we get too hot and can find ways to cool ourselves down, our pets cannot. Keep reading below for some important reminders about your dog and the summertime heat and how to keep them cool and comfortable.
Did you know that dogs with light colored coats can get sunburnt? Believe it or not, it’s true! Dogs can also suffer from sunburns and skin cancer, so ask your veterinarian about a pet-safe sunblock, preferably one that they cannot lick off.
Because we wear shoes, we likely do not notice how hot asphalt or even concrete can get in the heat. During summer months, protect your dog’s paws by walking on dirt or grass and sticking to early morning or late evening walks. To cool themselves down, a dog relies on the sweat glands in his/her paw pads, and if the ground they’re walking on is too hot, they won’t be able to get the relief they need. A good test is to place your hand on the asphalt and if it feels hot to your touch its likely too hot for your dog’s paws!
It’s perfectly natural to want to take your dog along for a car ride while you take care of a few quick errands. However, what many do not know is that your car’s interior temperature is significantly higher than the outside temperature. So, while you’re walking through the parking lot in 75-degree temperatures, inside your car where you’ve left your furry friend, it’s a sweltering 118 degrees! Even if you crack your windows, your vehicle will quickly become an oven, and your pet will be in unsafe temperatures. It only takes 15 minutes in extreme heat for your dog to suffer brain and organ damage. While we understand the urge to bring your pet along for the ride, please do not leave your pets alone in the car for any amount of time!
Ask your vet or groomer if a haircut will help your dog stay cool this summer. For some breeds, a long coat is a dog’s defense against getting sunburnt and their protection from skin cancer. Additionally, a long coat can keep your pet warmer in the winter and provide insulation in the summer depending on the breed. So be sure to check with the professionals before you give your pup a summer cut that may end up putting them more at risk.
Keep cool, fresh water available to your dog at all times. If your dog stays outside during the day, leave water in a shady area, in a non-metal bowl as those can heat up the water quicker. If you’re going out for a run or traveling with your dog, bring extra water for them to drink. Dogs can experience the symptoms of heatstroke in a short amount of time, so it’s always a good idea to be a step ahead and do what you can to prevent it from happening.
If you have a pool, whether your dog likes to swim or not, it’s important to teach your pup how to safely get out of the pool. Dogs will naturally try to get out of a space from the same place they went in, so if you dog jumps or falls into your pool from the side, the dog will try to climb out there, and can exhaust itself trying to climb out. To teach your dog where the stairs are located, use a leash and guide your pup to the steps. Do this from each part of your pool, so no matter where your dog enters the pool, they know where to safely exit.
If your dog is an avid swimmer in your backyard pool, it’s still a good idea to regularly refresh your dog’s memory of where the steps are located. Also, teach your pup not to go in the pool without permission. Just like with humans, no matter how "water safe" your dog is, accidents can always happen.
Summer is a great time to be outside and have some fun! As we would take the extra steps to protect ourselves from the sun and heat, we need to remember to protect our pets as well. With a little preparation, we can make it a great summer for everyone!
As always, reach out to your local Bark Busters trainer for more information!