How to Keep Your Dog Safe in Hot Summer Heat
Summertime is finally here, and ‘tis the season to hit the beach, take long strolls by the seaside, and enjoy the summer sun with your furry friends.
The ideal weather for some fun in the sun — summer is a great time to lace up those running shoes and head out to the dog parks or spend a few extra bonding hours playing fetch in the yard.
However, it’s important to remember that pet-parenting isn’t all fun and games, especially when it gets hot outside. The summer months can be stifling and uncomfortable — even dangerous — both for humans as well as for our pets.
With rising temperatures, humidity levels, and with a heightened risk of tropical storms and subsequent power-outages, it’s necessary to be prepared for the worst when it comes to caring for your dog.
At Doggysupps, the welfare of your furry companion is our top priority. Here’s a list of helpful tips and tricks to caring for your dog in the heat of the summer!
Limit and Regulate Exercise
While the idyllic summertime fantasy of long, warm days spent at the park may be your goal, it’s vital to ensure that you’re keeping your pet’s best interests in mind.
When exercising or indulging in active play with your pet, be mindful of rising temperatures and humidity. Adjust the duration and intensity of outdoor exercise according to the weather forecast, and always carry enough water.
On days forecasted to be especially hot, limit walks to the early morning and late evening, when it is likely to be cooler outside.
Pro Tip: Before heading out on a run with your dog, always remember to check the pavement with your hand. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s sensitive paws.
Consider staying off of the asphalt and concrete as far as possible. Alternatively, invest in paw-care products like the Nutrani Beeswax Paw Balm designed to protect your dog from blisters, wounds, and other heat-related issues.
While heat and humidity are not to be taken lightly, the summertime also poses other risks to the health and well-being of your canine companions.
As average temperatures rise, the creepy crawlies and critters surface. This means that fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and other disease-carrying parasitic creatures are on the prowl.
While they may not seem like much, these pests carry bacteria that can lead to some rather serious diseases and infections, including tapeworms, Lyme disease, and Bartonella, that pose a serious health risk to your dogs.
Be sure to check for pests often, and bathe your dogs regularly with a cooling, moisturizing shampoo, to prevent any skin conditions and disease-carrying invaders from wreaking havoc upon your dog’s health.
Pro Tip: Consider investing in natural pest-repelling products like Nutrani’s Anti Tick Treats that keep your dog safe from both unwanted guests and harmful chemicals.
Keeping Your Dog Cool – Inside and Out
Overheating and dehydration in dogs is more common than you think. Unlike human beings, dogs and other animals cannot produce sweat to cool themselves off.
Rather, dogs only sweat from their paws, which doesn’t do much to cool them down. This is why dogs often pant in the hea, or after a rigorous play session.
However, if the surrounding air is too hot, your puppy’s panting won’t be able to effectively cool them down. Watch out for the following changes in behavior and indicators of dehydration in your pet:
- Heavier panting than normal
- Signs of lethargy
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry gums
- Excessive drooling
- Increased thirst/water intake
Pro Tip: If you’re worried your dog is suffering from dehydration, conduct a simple test by lightly pinching up some of their skin. If the skin bounces back normally, you have no reason to worry.
If it takes a little longer to return to normal, this could indicate some level of dehydration and might require the attention of your vet.
While some dogs are at higher risk of dehydration and overheating depending on the darkness of their coat and their overall weight, such issues can be easily avoided with a little preparation.
When left unchecked, overheating can lead to canine heatstroke, a potentially fatal condition, which we will discuss in further detail in just a few moments.
To avoid these problematic and potentially life-threatening issues, it is important to:
- Provide ample hydration and shade
- Provide opportunities for a cooling soak
Hydration and Shade
One of the simplest ways to avoid overheating and dehydration in dogs is to have an ample supply of water and shade readily available.
Make sure there is plenty of food and water bowls in cooler areas of your home that don’t get much sun. Add ice cubes to keep the water cool, and encourage hydration at least once every hour or so.
When traveling, be sure to carry a portable bowl and cold bottles of water, and observe your dog’s behavior for signs of overheating.
Never leave your pet in the car alone, not even for a minute. Even when it doesn’t seem hot outside, temperatures can soar quickly in enclosed spaces like dog houses and parked cars.
Pro Tip: Another great way to keep your dog hydrated and coo, while also providing them with some nutritio, is to whip up a batch of DIY pupsicles.
You can find recipes online, or try your hand at a little experimentation based on your puppy’s personal preferences.
Wetting Your Dog – To Spray Or Not To Spray?
Another way to beat the summer heat is to indulge in water-play activities with your dogs. At outdoor gatherings, provide opportunities for your pet to cool off in a kiddie pool, or play in the sprinklers.
However, not every breed of dog benefits from getting wet in the summertime.
Like many other animals, your dog’s coat does more towards regulating its internal temperature than you may at first realize.
Nature’s in-built insulator, a dog’s coat is meant to protect them from both cool and warm temperatures and allows for air to circulate and cool down the skin.
This is why wetting or shaving certain dogs may be counterintuitive to keeping them cool and safe from the summer heat.
For example, if your breed has a heavy coat, water will serve to weigh it down, making it more difficult for air to effectively circulate through the fur.
If your dog has a thick double coat, the water is likely to evaporate from the topcoat, but keep the undercoat moist for longer. This means that the water is trapped close to the surface of the skin, making it harder for your dog to cool down.
In the case of a breed with a thicker, fluffier coat, stray away from a full-bodied dip in the pool, and focus instead on the underbelly, paws, and chest.
Pet owners should avoid the impulse to shave fluffy dogs and cats in preparation for the summer. The fur acts as a protective barrier to the direct rays of the sun, protecting your dog from skin cancer, overheating, and sunburn.
Pro Tip: Consider a wet towel, cooling vest, or mat for your pup to sit or lie on when they are getting too hot.
Heatstroke – Signs and Treatment
Heatstroke is a serious and potentially fatal health hazard for pets in the summertime, especially amongst dogs that are too young, too old, or suffer from obesity and other health issues.
Certain breeds— such as Pugs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and other short-snouted dogs and cats— are at higher risk of complications and have a harder time breathing in excessively hot temperatures.
While dehydration and overheating can be controlled if caught early, when left unchecked, can develop into a more serious heatstroke, which may require the immediate attention of a veterinarian.
Watch out for the following signs of heatstroke in your dog:
- Excessive panting and salivating
- A deep reddening or purpling of the tongue
- Glazed eyes
- Obvious discomfort
- Rapid heartbeat
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing
- Disorientation and dizziness
- Seizures and fainting spells
If you notice some or all of the above-mentioned signs, it is important to act quickly and consult a vet.
Transport your pets to a cooler environment with an air conditioner and shade. Using a cold towel or an ice pack, bring your pet’s temperature down by gently applying it onto their necks, head, and chest.
Alternatively, run cool water over your dog, taking care to ensure the water is not too cold. Allow your dog to take little sips of water, or provide them with ice cubes to lick.
Most importantly, consult your veterinarian at the earliest sign of heatstroke, and ensure that steps are taken towards immediate intervention.
Caring For Your Furry Friends With Doggysups
At Doggysupps, we are dog-lovers and pet parents — just like you.
That’s why we take the utmost care in curating our products, designed to create a better environment for your canine friends.
Head over to our Doggysupps, and browse through our catalog of pet-friendly supplements and treats made with simple ingredients containing no harmful chemicals and additives, to keep your dogs active, healthy, and playful.