Summer Safety Tips for Dogs
Summer is right around the corner, and the warm weather it brings will open up the possibility for countless outdoor activities. For dog owners, this means hikes, beach visits, and many other opportunities to give you and your dog some exercise. However, the summer heat does affect dogs, so here are some tips to make sure your dog has a safe and exciting time in the sun.
This is vitally important, and something that is mentioned often as one of the biggest risks to dogs in hot weather. Do not bring your dog with you in the car and leave them for extended periods of time while you run errands. Especially, make sure that if you do have to leave your dog in the car, the windows are down and you’re parked in the shade. Cars heat up fast, and a dog or human can overheat or even suffocate in a matter of minutes so it is quite important to be wary of this risk this summer.
Make sure every outdoor trip in the summer sun is planned to make sure your dog is properly accommodated. Bring water and possibly a portable bowl so that your dog stays hydrated. Also, keep in mind that dogs cannot sweat so their bodies heat up much faster than humans’ do. Provide lots of water to keep them comfortable and make sure that there is shade wherever you go. Next, it’s important to consider timing of walks and hikes. At mid day or early afternoon, concrete and other hard surfaces are sure to be hot and will also radiate heat off of them. Avoid this, as it can become dangerous quickly. A good option to alleviate this potential issue if you choose to go out in direct sunlight is to invest in boots to cover your dog’s feet when walking in hot conditions. We may not consider this factor because our shoes protect our feet, but a dog’s paws can burn from hot concrete or asphalt. A good reference point is to hold your hand on the ground and determine if it’s bearable to keep it there for a long period of time. Finally, if you take your dog out on the open water, consider a life jacket. Dogs often act impulsively, so preparing for them to be in the water is important, even for those with dogs who are strong swimmers. All of these suggestions will help your dog stay safe and happy on your summer adventures.
BE SMART AND HAVE FUN
Keep in mind your dog’s size, structure, and tolerance before making plans to go out in hot weather. Dogs with short snouts like bulldogs and boxers have a tougher time breathing and have increased risk in hot weather as they pant to cool down. Dogs with longer or darker coats are also quite susceptible to heat stroke so consider all limitations before venturing into the sun. Finally, enjoy the summer. Dogs love the outdoors and the summer allows for any number of activities that are not available to many regions of the country during other months. Take advantage of this time, just make sure your companion is safe.