The Dog Days of Summer

0 Comments Posted by admin in Pet Care on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013.

The Dog Days of Summer 

Its official…summer is here, and just as we are – your furry family members are already feeling the heat. As summer activities come into full swing, dog owners are anxious to get their pet – and themselves – out of the house and into the sun.

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 One thing to remember is that dogs also suffer from heat stroke. Like humans, dogs can easily become overheated and can develop a serious case of heat stroke. Dogs have limited options when it comes to cooling themselves down; they are not able to expel heat by sweating like humans do. Their main method of cooling down is by panting. On a very hot day, excessive panting to lower body temperature can be insufficient.

Here are some important tips to remember to keep your furry pal safe from the summer heat!

Keep your pet hydrated.

water dispenser

Whether playing in the yard, fun at the park or going for a walk, make sure your pet always has acess to fresh water. At home, when outside, keep the water bowl in the shade if possible so the water stays cool. Also consider using a plastic bowl to ensure your pet can’t burn his/her tongue on a metal dish that’s been sitting in the hot sun. There is a new product available that attaches right to your outdoor water supply; an automatic water dispenser that offers your pet fresh cool water whenever he/she activates it simply by walking up to it. If you’re out and about, be sure to carry some extra water bottles with you and something your pet can easily drink from. Collapsible water bowls and travel size water dispensers are available at your local pet supply store.

Walk your dog during cooler hours.

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During the hot summer months, consider walking your dog either early in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is less harmful. Remember your pet doesn’t have shoes on his/her feet; if possible allow your dog to walk on grass or dirt to avoid burning their paws on the hot pavement. Be sure to take a few breaks in the shade and grass for some cool down time if walking on hot surfaces.

Avoid crowded summer events.

parade dog

While it may seem like a good idea to take your furry pal along to the festival, parade or local picnic…your pet is almost always better off left at home. The heat, excessive noise, crowds, excitement and activity can be too much for your pet; causing stress and anxiety. If you do take your pet with you, be sure to watch for any signs that your furry friend is stressed or uncomfortable, if this becomes an issue remove him/her as soon as possible for their own safety.

Do your homework before shaving your dogs coat.

shaved

Summertime is generally when most pet owners have their pets coats shaved down. If your dog is a swimmer, gets easily matted, sheds a lot or spends a lot of time outside, then you may want to consider a summer shave down. This will help to keep your pet cooler and cleaner during the hot summer season. If your pet has a thin hair coat or if it’s very light in color, the hair will actually protect the skin from the sun. In these cases it’s best not to shave them down. Always check with your groomer to see what the best option for your pet is.

Dogs need protection from the sun too.

swimsuit

Overexposure to the sun can give your dog a nasty case of sunburn, peeling skin and painful inflammation. Even though dogs have fur that does offer some protection from the suns harmful rays, we often forget about the tips of the ear, bridge of the nose, and areas around the lips and eyes. These areas are easily burned due to the lack of pigmentation. If your pet will be in the sun for long periods of time be sure to monitor the condition of his/her skin. There are specially formulated sunscreens available for dogs, you can check with your veterinaian to discuss the best option for your pet.

Keep your pet cool.

pool

During the summer months do what you can to keep your furry friend cool. An excellent way is by allowing access to a shallow childrens pool filled with cool clean water or a sprinkler system your pet can walk or run through. Remember to monitor your pet during any play time involving water for the safety of your furry friend.

Outdoor housing in the summer months.

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If your pet stays outdoors during the summer months there are a few precautions you should take to ensure he/she can keep cool. Make sure the kennel or housing is shaded from direct sun exposure and that it has plenty of ventilation. In most cases simply using a tree for shading over your pets housing will work. Make sure your pet has an area to rest comfortably off of the ground or hot surfaces. Always keep fresh cool water available to any outside pets to avoid dehydration.

Not all dogs are born to swim…or want too.

life jacket

Technically all dogs CAN swim, however, some breeds such as bulldogs, basset hounds, pugs and so on have more difficulty than most. If you plan to teach your pooch to swim be patient and don’t push it, if your pet just doesn’t seem interested in swimming it’s probably bes to forego the lesson. Be sure to fit your dog with a pet lifejacket anytime he/she is swimming or boating. These special pet devices are equipped with a handle on the pets back to lift the pet out of the water with ease.

Exercise good water safety.

swim play

There are several safety precautions you should take when your dog is around water. Most importantly, make sure your dog can swim and that he/she is wearing a doggy lifejacket. Be aware of your surrondings and what dangers your pet might encounter while there. Never let your pet drink the water in which it is swimming and always hose your pet off after the fun ends, especially if swimming in a lake or pond. If you take your furry pal boating, remember dogs can get motion sick too so be prepared. Make sure your pet has the proper id tags and is microchipped in case he/she falls overboard, runs off or gets lost.

NEVER leave your dog in a hot car!!!

car

You should NEVER leave your pet in a hot car no matter how quick you plan to be. A car can heat up extremely fast even when it’s not so hot outside and with the windows cracked. On a hot summer day, the temperature in a vehicle can climb rapidly with the ability to reach 150 degrees in a short amount of time.

If you must leave your pet in a vehicle remember to follow these tips to keep him./her safe:

*make sure windows are open for adequate air supply, in order for the air to move around the windows would ideally be open several inches rather than only cracked.

*park in a shaded area or out of direct sunlight.

*keep fresh cool water available

*check on your furry family member every 10-15 minutes – no longer.

Sometimes the old saying might be best….” Better safe than sorry”

 

We are all happy to see the summer season arrive. Time to get outside after a long winter, enjoy the warm weather, sunshine, cookouts and lots of fun; our pets feel the same way. By following these helpful tips you can be sure that you and your furry friends will have a safe and enjoyable summer.

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