Summer is here and it is time to have some fun with your pup! Summer can be one of the best times of the year to have a great time outdoors, going on walks, or having your pup play in the yard. However, we need to be careful with our fur babies outside because they are very sensitive to the heat. Here are some safety tips to help keep your puppy safe during the summer months.
Never Leave your Dog in a Parked Car
There is never a good time to leave the dog in a parked car. Even for a minute, even with the car running and air conditioner on, there are still apparent risks. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels, even on a day that is not that hot. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet can suffer permanent damage or even death at this temperature.
Watch the Humidity
The heat itself is not the only threat to your puppy. The humidity can also be highly problematic. Dogs pant to relieve the humidity and regulate their body temperature, but there is a limit to how much they can protect themselves. Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.
Be extra careful when exercising your pet in the summer! Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On any day over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours when it gets cooler. Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, because they are more susceptible to skin cancer. Short-snouted dogs, such as pugs or boxers, will typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot in the summer and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
Don’t Rely on a Fan
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. Dogs pant and sweat through their feet, so keeping the area dry with a fan may not help as much as with a human.
Provide Ample Shade and Water
If your dog goes outside on a hot summer day, even for only a few minutes, make sure there is plenty of water to drink and plenty of shade. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide adequate shade, and the inside of the dog house can get even hotter than the outside air.
Keep Your Dog Cool Inside and Out
Provide plenty of cold water both inside and outside of the house. If you go on a walk, bring a thermos for them to drink from. You can also give them ice cubes and “doggy popsicles” that you can make from recipes online or get at some stores. If your dog doesn’t mind a bath, see if you can give them a cool rinse.
Beware of Heatstroke
Hot weather and high humidity can cause heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke include: excessive panting, unusual or “glazed” eyes, heart beating fast, having a hard time breathing, excessive thirst, acting lethargic, fever, dizziness, unusual movements, poor coordination, excessive drooling, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizures, or possible loss of consciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Short muzzle breeds like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other breeds will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
If Your Dog Shows Signs of Heat Stroke
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, move themto air-conditioned area as soon as possible. Give the dog ice packs or cold towels for the head, neck, and chest, and/or run cool water. Let the dog drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Go directly to a veterinarian.
As much fun as it can be to play with your pup outside during the summer months, it is important to be aware of the weather and their activity level. Keep in mind, if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for them! In fact, dogs are even less tolerant to heat than humans, since they are wearing a fur coat! So if it looks like it will be getting warm, it may be best to leave the dog home for the day in the air conditioning or let them out for short potty breaks only. We love our dogs so it is important to keep them safe in the summer months!