Summer is a time for fun in the sun, and for many dog owners, that means spending quality time outdoors with their furry friends. However, the summer months can also pose some serious risks to dogs. From heatstroke to sunburn to dehydration, there are a number of hazards to be aware of when it comes to keeping your dog safe during summer. In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of caring for your dog during the summer months so that you can enjoy the season with peace of mind.
Understanding the Risks of Summer for Dogs
Summer may be the most exciting time of the year for dog owners who love spending long days outside with their furry friends. However, it’s important to keep in mind that hot weather can also pose serious risks for dogs. Here are the three main hazards to watch out for:
Dogs can easily become overheated and suffer from heatstroke, especially if they’re exercising vigorously or spending too much time in direct sunlight. Symptoms of heatstroke include panting, excessive drooling, vomiting, and lethargy. In severe cases, it can cause seizures or even death.
Hot pavement, concrete, or sand can cause burns on a dog’s paws. This can be especially painful for dogs, who rely on their paws to move around. To test if the pavement is too hot for your dog, place your hand on it for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.
Just like humans, dogs can become dehydrated quickly in hot weather. Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry mouth, and lethargy. It’s essential to ensure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh water at all times during the summer months.
Do: Provide Plenty of Water and Shade
One of the easiest ways to keep your dog safe during the summer is to provide them with plenty of water and shade. Make sure your dog has access to water throughout the day, and keep their water bowl in a shaded area to keep it cool. If your dog is spending time outside, set up a shaded area using a covered porch, an umbrella, or a doghouse.
Don’t: Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating: you should never leave your dog in a hot car. Even on a relatively mild day, the temperature inside a car can quickly become unbearable for a dog. Here are two reasons why:
How Hot Cars Can Get
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 100 degrees in just a few minutes. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can skyrocket to 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
Why You Shouldn’t Risk It
Leaving your dog in a hot car can cause serious harm, including heatstroke, brain damage, or even death. The consequences are not worth the risk, regardless of how quickly you expect to be gone.
Do: Protect Your Dog from Sunburn
Dogs with thin or light-coloured fur are more prone to sunburn than others, particularly on their ears and noses. Here’s what you should know:
Which Dogs Are Prone to Sunburn
If your dog has light-colored fur, short hair, or has recently been shaved, it may be more susceptible to sun damage.
Signs of Sunburn in Dogs
Symptoms of sunburn in dogs can include red or inflamed skin, scaly or flaking skin, and hair loss. If you suspect your dog is sunburned, consult your veterinarian for remedies and ways to prevent it going forward.The Dos and Don’ts of Keeping Your Dog Safe During Summer
As summer temperatures start to rise, it’s important to remember that dogs need extra care to stay cool and healthy. Here are some essential dos and don’ts to keep in mind during the hot summer months.
Don’t: Overexert Your Dog in High Temperatures
Dogs are susceptible to heatstroke in hot weather, so it’s essential to avoid overexertion during exercise. Signs of overheating can include excessive panting, drooling, and lethargy. In severe cases, overheating can cause seizures, organ failure, and death.
To keep your dog cool during exercise, try to switch up your routine and avoid midday activity when temperatures are highest. Bring plenty of water and take frequent breaks to rest in the shade. If you’re unsure if it’s safe to exercise your dog in hot weather, consult with your veterinarian.
Do: Keep Your Dog Parasite-Free
Summertime means more time spent outdoors, which also means increased exposure to parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. These pests can cause serious health problems, from skin irritation to heartworm disease.
To prevent parasites in your dog, make sure they are up-to-date on all recommended preventative treatments, such as flea and tick medication. Consider using natural pest repellents, such as essential oils or citrus sprays, to supplement traditional treatments.
Don’t: Allow Your Dog to Drink Untreated Water
During outdoor activities, it’s easy for your dog to become dehydrated and seek out stagnant or untreated water sources. However, drinking contaminated water can lead to serious illness, such as gastrointestinal distress or toxic poisoning.
To find safe drinking water for your dog, bring along plenty of fresh, clean water and a collapsible water bowl. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid letting your dog drink from streams, ponds, or other untreated sources.
Do: Be Prepared for Emergencies
Even with the best precautions, accidents can still happen. Be prepared for emergencies by knowing how to respond to common injuries and illnesses.
If your dog shows signs of heatstroke, such as excessive panting or lethargy, move them to a calm, shaded area and offer small sips of water. Seek veterinary care immediately.
To treat minor burns or injuries, clean the affected area and apply a cool compress. Always seek veterinary care for severe or more complex injuries.
By following these simple dos and don’ts, you can help keep your dog safe and healthy during the summer months. Remember to always prioritize your dog’s health and well-being, and consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.By following these dos and don’ts, you can help ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy all summer long. With a little extra care and attention, you can keep your furry friend safe from the many dangers that summer can bring. So get out there, and have fun in the sun, but remember to always prioritize your dog’s well-being.
What should I do if I suspect my dog is experiencing heatstroke?
If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, such as excessive panting, vomiting, or lethargy, it is important to take immediate action. Move your dog to a cool, shaded area and provide water to drink. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for further guidance.
Can my dog get sunburned?
Yes, dogs can get sunburned, especially those with light-coloured fur or thin coats. Signs of sunburn in dogs may include red, inflamed skin, hair loss, and even skin tumours. To protect your dog from the sun, consider applying pet-safe sunscreen and providing plenty of shade.
What are some signs that my dog is becoming dehydrated?
Signs of dehydration in dogs may include dry mouth and nose, loss of skin elasticity, and lethargy. In severe cases, dehydration can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even collapse. To avoid dehydration, make sure your dog always has access to clean, fresh water and shade.
How can I keep my dog safe from parasites during the summer?
During the summer months, parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are more common than ever. To protect your dog from these pests, consider using preventative medications and avoiding areas where parasites are known to thrive. Additionally, check your dog regularly for signs of infestation and seek treatment as needed.