Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Summer Heat
Posted on August 08 2017
The summer heat wave is real, especially as we head into the dog days of August. While many dogs may seem like they can run and play forever, regardless of the weather, it’s important to keep in mind that extreme temperatures affect them, too. Here are some key things to look for this summer to make sure your dog stays safe and healthy.
- Be Aware of Hot Pavement
Remember that feeling when you thought you could brave a quick, barefoot trip to the mailbox, only to discover that the driveway was scorching? Your dog’s little paws experience that, too. Asphalt, wood, metal, pavement, sand, and even car and truck surfaces all heat up in the sun, giving them the potential to burn a dog’s paw pads.
To prevent burns, be sure to check any surface your dog is about to come in contact with by touching it with a bare foot for at least 10 seconds. The rule of thumb is simple: if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pup! Other prevention tips include sticking to grassy areas for your dog’s outdoor time, avoiding walks during the hottest parts of the day, or investing in a pair of (adorable) booties to protect your dog’s paws. If you suspect that your dog’s paws may have been burned, here are some signs to look out for and what steps to take in the event that they are.
- Provide The Right Kind of Shade
Be sure that your dog has ample shade available in outdoor areas. Shade provided by tarps and trees are ideal because they don’t inhibit airflow. Doghouses are not considered to be an adequate relief from heat because their obstruction of airflow can actually make it worse.
- Tailor Exercise to the Weather
When the temperature starts to climb, exercise can do more harm than good for your pup. You can restrict their potential for overdoing it by keeping them confined to the deck (as long as there is plenty of shade and water available). Our outdoor safety gates attach easily to the bottom of deck stairs. Use it to limit your dog’s activity during the hotter parts of the day, and save the more intense exercise for the early morning and late evening hours.
- Understand That Different Dogs Are Affected Differently
The Human Society points out that different dog breeds are affected differently by sun exposure and intense heat. For example, dogs with white ears are more susceptible to developing skin cancer, while dogs with shorter noses tend to have more difficulty breathing and may exert more quickly in the heat. Know your dog so you can know how to best protect them.
- Cool Them Properly
Dogs’ bodies cool differently than humans, which means that humidity affects them differently. It also means that fans do nothing to cool an overheated dog. Be sure you are taking cooling measures that are appropriate for them, such as placing some ice cubes in their water bowl, fixing them a healthy, frozen treat, or investing in a cooling body wrap or mat. Of course, always be sure that plenty of water is available to your pet, inside, outside, and at all times of the day.
- Never, Ever Leave Them in the Car
With today’s research out there, most dog owners know by now that this is a huge no-no. Even just a minute confined in a hot car can cause irreversible damage to your furry friend. The Humane Society emphasizes that it is not safe to leave them with the car running and the air conditioner on or with the windows cracked, either. When it comes to your fur baby, it just isn’t worth the risk.
On top of all of these efforts to keep your dog cool and comfortable this summer, it’s important to know what heatstroke signs to look out for. Familiarize yourself with these signs and symptoms and what action steps to take in the event of heatstroke.
Stay safe and enjoy these long, warm days of summer while they last!