Everyone looks forward to summer when we can be outside enjoying all of the fresh air and sunshine. But the summer months can be a dangerous time for our dogs. The scorching sun, high temperatures, and staggering humidity can affect our dogs in many of the same ways they affect us. Heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration are all heat-related emergencies we need to protect our dogs against. Here are some tips to help keep your dog cool and safe this summer.
Water - Always be sure your dog has a fresh supply of cool, clean water. Refill his bowl often and keep it in the shade so it is out of direct sunlight.
Shade - Even if your dog is only outside for short periods of time, make sure there is always shade available to him. Keep in mind that as the earth changes position throughout the day, the areas that are shaded change as well.
Rest - When playing or exercising with your dog, take frequent breaks to rest and cool down. Dogs pant to cool themselves, so heavy panting is a sign that your dog needs a break.
Paws - Even though a dog has thick, protective pads on his paws, they are still susceptible to injury from scorching pavement. Limit his time on sidewalks and opt for dirt or mulched paths when possible.
Air conditioning - When it comes to air conditioning, our dogs are much like us. They appreciate the cool respite from the summer's heat and may even prefer to be inside during the hottest part of the day.
Cars - You should never leave your dog in a car alone, even if the windows are partly rolled down. Inside temperatures can quickly reach over 100 degrees, and it doesn't take long to seriously injure or kill a dog.
Pools - Providing a pool for your dog to cool off can be a great idea, but be sure to place it in the shade to keep it from becoming a hot tub instead.
Cooling mats - You can make your own cooling mats by freezing water in large zipper bags. Be sure to place a towel on top to keep the ice away from direct contact with your dog's skin.
Sunscreen - Just like us, dogs can get sunburned, too. Dogs with white fur or pink skin are especially vulnerable. Using sunscreen on their ears and nose will help protect them from damaging rays.
Grooming - If you have a thick-coated dog like a Chow or Saint Bernard, shaving them in the summer can keep them cooler and safe.
Ice cubes - Keep the dog treats in the box and give your pooch ice cubes to chomp on in the heat of the day. It will keep him cool and also help prevent dehydration.
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