We humans may love the summer sun, but our four-legged friends can have a tough time staying cool – could you imagine wearing a fur coat on the beach? Hot or intensely humid weather can be dangerous for our dogs, and there are some particular hazards that we need to keep our pups safe from when the weather gets warm.
Beat the Heat
- Hot paws! Asphalt heats up very quickly in the sun, and can cause painful burns to your dog’s pads. Walk your dog on grass instead of pavement, put protective boots on, or even carry them when needed.
- Exercise your furry friend during the cooler times of day, like early mornings or evenings, and keep in mind that they may need more breaks for water and rest than usual.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen. Light colored or thinly-haired dogs can easily become sunburnt – ask your vet about dog-friendly sunscreen to use on your pup’s skin.
- Very senior dogs, overweight pooches and short-nosed Pugs and Bulldogs can very easily become distressed in the heat and might even have problems breathing well. In extreme temperatures, these pups are best kept safely inside where it’s cool.
- Leave your dog at home when you’re running errands. The inside of a car can reach dangerous temperatures in just a few minutes, even with the windows cracked on a mild day. Hot cars kill pets.
There are some other great ways to help your dog to beat the heat during those scorching days:
- Stuff a Kong with peanut butter and freeze it before giving it to your pup
- Make pup-sicles by spooning canned food into ice cube trays and freezing
- Make sure there’s lots of shade and fresh water outdoors for your dog at all times
- Place ice cubes in your dog’s water bowl
- Run a fan pointed at their favorite resting spot
- Buy a cheap wading pool for your dog to take cool-off dips in
- Close the curtains in sunny rooms
Watch Them Closely
Even the most resilient dog can succumb to heat exhaustion or heat stroke if they’re out in hot weather for too long, and often more quickly than you might think! If you see any of the following signs, bring your dog into the shade or air conditioning right away, place cool moist towels on their belly, groin and armpits to begin cooling them down, and head to your vet immediately.
- Heavy panting or trouble breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- Bright red tongue or gum color
- Staggering or collapse
A body temperature over 104 degrees is an extreme emergency for your pup, with the potential to cause serious brain and kidney damage. If you even slightly suspect that your dog is overheated, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian for advice. With a few extra precautions, however, our canine companions can safely enjoy the summer right along with us.