The high intensity heat of summer months brings its own inherent set of dangers for your dog. Know what to watch for and what to do to keep your dog this summer.
Check out these tips on basic summer safety for dogs.
6 Summer Safety Tips for Dogs
1. Road Trips
Never leave your dog in a parked car. This is mostly common sense for dog parents, but hot cars kill dogs. Temperatures inside a car can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. The temperature in a car, even on an 80 degree day, with the windows slightly opened can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature could goto 120 degrees. Just don’t do it. Often quick stops can turn into long stops, and even with the car running, there is a danger. Many idle cars have been set into motion or doors locked by an impatient pup. While your dog may beg to go with you, unless someone can stay in the car with them with the air conditioner running, leave them at home. It’s far safer.
2. Mind the Humidity
Humidity affects dogs just as much as high temperatures. Dogs pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, according to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. This takes heat away from their body – but if the humidity is too high, the dog is not going to be able to cool himself or herself. A dog’s body temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.
3. Vary Exercise and Be Vigilant
If it is hot, change your dog’s exercise routine. Be very careful with exercising your dog during the summer months. Hot days would be a good time to take a walk in the very early morning hours or late evening hours. Those dogs with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets need to be watched very carefully. Don’t forget pavement gets very hot, and can burn your dog’s paws. Use booties or carry your dog until you can get off the hot pavement. Always have water with you for your dog to keep them from dehydrating.
4. Be Aware
A fan doesn’t always cool off a dog as good as it might a person. Dogs sweat through their feet primarily. Know the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs and what to do.
5. Provide Shade at All Times
If you and your dog must be outside, keep the dog in the shade and make sure he or she has plenty of water. A doghouse doesn’t always provide relief from heat – in some cases, it could make the heat worse. Find ways to provide shade that doesn’t restrict air flow. Try using a raised dog bed, a shade umbrella, or even a nearby tree with a thick canopy to keep your dog safe.
6. Water is Essential
Keep your dog cool inside and out. Water, water, water – keep it fresh, keep it clean and keep it coming. A cool soak in a tub, if the dog doesn’t mind baths, could be helpful as well. A kiddie pool filled with cool water or even a spray with the hose can help keep your dog cool when outside. Do not give a heated dog ice cold water. This can throw the body into shock. A few ice cubes from time to time in a bowl sitting in the sun is fine, but if the water is too cold, the results can be severe.
Be on the alert for signs of heatstroke. Signs to look for are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, tired, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, vomiting, seizure and deep red/purple tongue. Cool your dog by dousing their belly with water and call the veterinarian immediately. Do not put the dog in a bathtub full of ice or ice water. It’s too much of a shock to the system. Laying your dog in a tub and running cool water over them is much preferred as you wait on instructions from your vet.
Power Outages and Dogs
The summertime also means summer storms. A summer storm can take out the power, sometimes for days on end. With that in mind, preparing an emergency plan for keeping your dog safe in case of such events is important.
Keep standing water available – filling gallons and keeping them in storage is ideal. Always have dog food on hand that doesn’t require electricity to prepare. If you have screened doors along with a regular doors, leaving the regular door open could help circulate air when the power is out. You can baby gate the door area to keep the dog from going outside if necessary. For potty time in stormy weather having a place to potty that is protected from weather is important for many dogs. A covered porch or breezeway may serve as an easy to clean potty area when necessary. Keep in mind many invisible fences do not work once the power is out so you’ll need to supervise your dog outside if you rely on an invisible fence product to keep your dog safe.
After a storm, always check your yard for dangerous debris before letting your dog out free to roam. Trash from neighbors, sharp sticks, and spilled chemicals and cleaners can all pose a hazard to your dog after a bad storm.
My dogs have given me an entirely new spiritual perspective on life. I now have a genuine understanding of unconditional love and provision.