Enjoying Summer Safely with Your Dog: A Comprehensive Guide
Summer brings the perfect opportunity for you and your furry friend to revel in the great outdoors. Longer days mean more adventures, from picnics and barbecues to beach trips, hikes, camping, and joyful visits to the dog park. Nevertheless, in the midst of the enthusiasm, it is essential to give precedence to safety. Follow these essential tips to ensure your canine companion stays cool, hydrated, and protected from potential summer hazards such as overheating, burned paw pads, and sunburn.
1. Keep Cool: Never underestimate the summer heat, as what feels tolerable to humans can be too hot for dogs, especially those with heavy fur coats. Avoid leaving your dog in a parked car, as temperatures inside can quickly become lethal. Provide shade and ample cool, fresh water outdoors. Kiddie pools or dog swimming pools are excellent for backyard cooling, but ensure the water is shallow for small dogs and puppies. If it’s excessively hot, keep your dog indoors with proper ventilation and access to fresh water.
2. Stay Hydrated: Both indoors and outdoors, ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. Encourage drinking by adding a bit of no-salt-added chicken broth to the water or tossing ice cubes into the bowl for a refreshing chill.
3. Exercise at Dawn and Dusk: Avoid exercising your dog during the heat of the day to prevent heatstroke and burned paw pads. Schedule walks and activities during cooler times, like dawn or dusk. Reserve indoor activities or water play for the hottest part of the day.
4. Watch for Signs of Heatstroke: Educate yourself about heatstroke symptoms, such as vigorous panting, dark gums, weakness, and vomiting. If you suspect heatstroke, move your dog to a cool place, offer water, and aim a fan at them. Seek immediate veterinary attention.
5. Provide Sun Protection: Surprisingly, dogs can get sunburned, especially on their noses, ears, and faces. Apply dog-safe sunscreen before sun exposure, focusing on vulnerable areas. Reapply as directed to shield your dog’s delicate skin.
6. Consider Water Safety: While most dogs can swim, some breeds may struggle. Use a dog life jacket for breeds like bulldogs and pugs. Monitor your dog’s swimming abilities, especially at the beach, and prevent excessive ocean water consumption to avoid salt toxicity.
7. Protect Paws: Dog paw pads are tough but can burn on hot surfaces. Walk your dog during cooler hours and test hot surfaces with your hand or foot. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Consider dog boots for added protection on scorching days.
Embrace the joys of summer with your dog by prioritizing their well-being. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a season filled with happy and safe adventures for both you and your beloved canine companion.