Summer is here, and that means a lot of outdoor fun for dogs and their owners. It also means that you have to stay on top of your doggie-care game to ensure your beloved pet has a summer that's as safe as it is fun. Here are some helpful tips to take excellent care of your dog in the heat of summer.
1. Overheating Kills
As you and your dog travel, be aware that heat can easily and quickly kill your canine companion. Even with cracked windows, the ASPCA warns that a vehicle’s internal temperature can reach 102 degrees when the outside temp is 85 degrees, so never leave your pet in a parked car for any amount of time. Be sure to take water for your pet on adventures, have a shade source nearby, and plan activities in the cooler parts of the day.
2. Swimming Safety
Despite having the doggie paddle swimming technique as a namesake, not all dogs have the innate ability to swim. Dog drownings are a real concern for owners carrying their pets near water and who have an open body of water near their home. Even the best swimmers can drown very easily if they become panicked and fatigued. Doggie life vests and leashing your dog near dangerous water are worthwhile safety measures.
3. Protect Your Pet From Pests
Summer brings a plethora of pests, including fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and parasites, that can irritate and even invade your dog’s skin. Certain diseases, such as Lyme disease from ticks, can even be caught by humans. A summer checkup at the vet can help protect your dog against such pests and the diseases they carry. Your vet can also help you select the best over the counter washes, powders, treated collars, and so forth to offer ongoing protection for your specific breed and size dog.
4. Watch Their Steps
Remember that your canine friend doesn’t have shoes. It’s easy to forget that your pet is walking beside you on hot rocks, cement, asphalt, metal, and so forth with bare paws while you have the protection of shoes. It can burn their feet severely. It also raises their body temperature, which can expedite overheating.
A lot of pet owners don’t realize that dogs can get a sunburn, too. Any dog can get a sunburn, but hairless breeds, those with light-colored fur, those with short haircuts, and those with thinning fur are the most prone. If blistered, it’s best to take your sunburned pup to the vet. Otherwise, treat it similarly to that of a human sunburn with vitamin E oil or aloe vera. Prevent doggie sunburn with doggie-safe sunscreen and plenty of shade.
Why is my dog constantly panting? And why does my dog drink toilet water? Well, they’re probably not being provided with enough fluids to stay hydrated. Your dog’s gums being dry, sticky, or cracked is a good indicator that he/she is dehydrated. Your dog’s hydration needs depend upon a number of factors, including age, diet, activity, and size. A general rule of thumb, however, excluding activity and disease, is to give around an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.
7. Watch Their Diet
Just like with humans, dogs can gain a few extra pounds eating doggie-approved summer treats. Just be sure to match the extra food with a good exercise program. The real concern is your dog getting into and being given human foods. There’s quite an extensive list of human foods are toxic to dogs. While it can be tempting to give your dog the last lick of chocolate ice cream or throw them a grape on a hot summer day, doing so isn’t doing them a favor and can even cause their death.
In closing, caring for your dog during any season is a lot of work. The dangers of summer heat and fun just ramp that care up a notch. Be mindful and conscious so that both your and your dog have an equally safe and fun summer.