Summer is a terrific time for playing, hiking and swimming with your best furry friend! To ensure a fun and safe summer for your pup, we’ve compiled a list of tips for you to keep in mind this sunny season.
Water is important!
Planning a day outdoors? Make sure to bring a small container and enough water for you and your dog and take frequent water breaks. Although dogs enjoy playing outside even in the heat, they don’t sweat as much as we do and are at a higher risk of a heatstroke, making overheating a serious risk. Try to exercise your dog in the evening and limit the time spent outside at the peak of the day, which are usually between the hours of 12-4.
Your dog can’t tell you when he’s suffering, so make sure to watch out for these symptoms of dehydration or overheating:
- Too much or too little urination
- Sunken eyes
- Delay in capillary refill time (the time it takes for your dog’s gum to return to its normal color after you press your finger against it)
- Panting/increased heart pulse
- Excessive thirst
- Dry, pale tongue and gums
- Disorientation and/or collapse
If you think your dog may be dehydrated or overheated, consider taking him or her to the vet. Until you can reach your vet, here are some home treatments you can try:
- Get her to a shady and cool area as quickly as possible.
- Cool him by soaking his body with cool water using a towel. The water should be cool but not cold; switching to extreme temperatures can make the situation worse. Concentrate the cooling on her head, neck and her legs. If possible, point a fan towards her.
Plan for that Summer Vacay!
- Bring an umbrella and a blanket so your dog always has a shady option in the hot sand. Don’t forget that fresh water also!
- Make sure to provide a life vest for your dog if they are eager to go into the water but cannot swim well.
- Getting longhaired dogs a short summer cut is helpful against the heat but keep in mind dogs can also sunburn; apply a pet-safe sunscreen to their nose and ears every 30 minutes or limit their sun exposure.
- Make sure to rinse them when you get home; saltwater can damage their coats and it can take a while to improve your dog’s coat once it’s damaged.
- Having a first aid kit handy is always a good idea. Some items to include in it:
- Antiseptic Wipes
- Pet-friendly Insect Repellent
- Ice packs
- A list of your vet’s information and emergency contacts
Also, a fun way to help your dog cool down during hot summer days is to create refreshing “pup-sicles” for your pup or purchase doggy ice cream at your local pet store. Just look up dog popsicles recipes online and get your cool on!
Watch your dog’s paws.
Dogs’ paw pads are extremely sensitive to heat and walking on the hot pavement can cause painful burns or tears. The pavement is usually 20-30 degrees higher than the temperature outside.
- How you can determine if they can walk on the pavement?
Use the palm test: lay your hand down on the pavement. If you can’t keep it there for more than five seconds, you should definitely not walk your dog.
Another alternative is to get your dog heat-resistant booties for their paws; they protect against the heat and your dog looks cute at the same time! You can look for these online or at your local pet store.
Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car. The inside of a car can quickly reach 140 degrees on a hot day and leaving windows cracked doesn’t make the car any cooler. In many states, leaving a dog in an unattended parked car is considered a criminal offense. If you see any animal unaccompanied in a parked vehicle, you should immediately notify animal control or the police, as they have the authorization to evacuate the pet.
How to Cope with Fireworks. The Fourth of July can be a stressful time for dogs, as fireworks constantly go off and they don’t know what is happening. Similar to thunderstorms, the loud booms and intense vibrations scare our animal friends and it can be hard to keep them relaxed.
Here are some tips to calm down our dog’s anxiety:
- Don’t leave your dog alone. Dogs naturally want to stick by our side when they’re scared so leaving them by themselves can make their anxiety worse. Keep talking to them in a happy high-pitched voice and petting them.
- Provide them with shelter. Dogs instinctually seek cover when they’re scared in order to protect themselves. Create a safe space for your dog (giving him some treats may help keep him happy.)
- ‘Anxiety vests’ are becoming more popular today to help with dogs’ anxiety, they are similar to swaddling an infant and can relieve stress. Look for these online.
- Try out natural remedies. Always make sure however to consult your vet before administering any medicines to your dog. Project Paws Advanced All-Natural Calming Chew for Dogs is a natural option which contain organic chamomile and passionflower and valerian root for stress reducing purposes.
- If you yourself decide to light fireworks, make sure your dog is nowhere near them. Curious pups may try to eat them and dangerous chemicals inside the fireworks can severely hurt them.
It may also be worth considering an experienced dog walker for the days where you can’t look after them. There are plenty out there, with Confident Mutt being one example, so you can choose one closest to you that suits the time frame you need. They can regularly walk your dog, or even look after them for a couple of days! Like I say, they can work to suit you.
Whatever you decide, make sure to make this fun holiday for us less stressful for them.