Pet Care During Hot Summer Months
As the hot summer months come around every year, pet owners must be aware to take extra special care of their pets during this time. Just like humans, dogs are also prone in getting sunburned. The summer dog safety tips will provide some general rules that you can use especially during those hot days. Pet owners need to be aware that the hot sun can cause their pets problems just like humans. The knowledge of what can cause your dog problems during the summer is very important. This is what we will attempt to provide in this article.
During the hot summer months, dog owners need to take some extra precautions and observe some basic rules when taking your pet out for walks, picnics, running and swimming. Do dogs sweat? The answer is no and have difficulty in cooling down when overheated on hot days. They commonly try cooling down by panting. You will see your pet doing this a lot during those hot days. This is where the pet owner can help out. Below are some dog safety tips you can use to keep your fury friend safe on those long hot summer days.
One of the best things that you can do is to provide your pet with plenty of fresh cool drinking water and keep them out of the hot sun as much as possible.
Summer Safety Tips
Below are just a few tips you can use to keep your dog safe during the summer months.
1. Never Leave Your Dog in The Car On Hot Days.
This is the number one cause of dogs getting overheated and heatstroke and even die during the summer months. The best thing you can do on these days is just leave your dog at home. If you are going to the store, leaving your pet in the car can cause him to overheat due to the excess heat buildup inside the car by the hot sun. It does not take long for the heat to build up in the car even when leaving the windows ajar for air. In a short period of time your dog can get heatstroke. On hot days, dogs can die within 15 minutes when they get heatstroke.
Even when the outside temperature is 70 degrees on a sunny day, the inside car temperature can reach 89 degrees within 10 minutes and 104 degrees within 30 minutes. Believe it or not, even in the shade the inside temperature of the car can get very hot within a few minutes. Leave him at home as most stores do not allow pets inside anyway. Your pet will be happy to see you when you return.
Note: The average temperature inside the car goes up 20 degrees on average within 10 minutes, when the outside temperature is between 70 and 95 degrees (Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University).
Leaving him home is your best option and safest.
2. Keep Your Pet Protected From fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes.
These parasites come out in droves during the summer. Keeping these insects from attacking your pet is a must. The reason being as they are dangerous and can cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Heartworms. These diseases can lead to nasty and dangerous conditions that can impact your pet’s health.
Protecting your pet from these parasites is easily done by using over the counter medications that you can purchase at the local pet store to help control them whenever your pet goes outside.
3. Keep Your Pet’s Paws Cool.
The hot sun can cause asphalt or metal surfaces to get very hot which can be dangerous to pet paws. This also includes the sand along the beach as this heat can cause your pets paws to get burned, especially when the temperature is above 85 degrees F. Also, it can increase their body temperature that leads to overheating. On hot days, take your dog for a walk in the early morning hours and in the evening after sunset when these areas are a lot cooler and safer for your pet’s paws. If you have to walk your dog when it’s hot you can put booties on his paws to protect them.
Walking your dog on asphalt is hotter than concrete by at least 10 degrees. If you must walk your dog, walk him on concrete than asphalt. To help cushion your pet’s paws, you can put Musher’s Secret Paw Protection wax on them. It moisturizes his paws especially if they are dry or cracked. It also helps to heal any wounds and keeps paws healthy. It protects from hot sand, pavement, ice and salt in the winter. This stuff is good all year long.
4. Provide Your Dog With Fresh Drinking Water and Shade.
This is really important. Have plenty of cool fresh drinking water available on hot days as dogs get thirstier than humans as pets do get dehydrated easily in the summer. Also, as much as possible, try keeping them in shady areas when they are outside. Direct sunlight can cause them to overheat and get heatstroke. It’s best to be proactive then reactive.
5. Provide Your Pet With His Own Pool.
This may seem silly but it’s also very effective. If your dog loves the water, during the summer, provide him with his own kiddy pool. Getting wet helps keep your pet cool and he will enjoy it as well.
6. Dogs Cam Get Sunburned.
If your pet should have a light colored coat, he can get sunburned easily when out to long in the sun. Overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. The most susceptible areas are the nose, ears and tummy are likely to show overexposure before fur-covered areas. Signs of dogs getting too much sun are red skin that is tender to the touch.
Dog sunscreen can be applied to the areas that are exposed. A dog’s most sensitive skin areas are his nose, ear flaps, belly, and any bare or shaved patches. You can apply a child safe SPF of 20 and higher and apply it to your dog per label instructions. Be sure it does NOT contain Zinc Oxide as this ingredient is toxic to dogs. Please read the lotion ingredients list on the labels very carefully before buying. If your pet suffers from sensitive skin, look for a lotion that is safe for babies or sensitive skin.
If your pet goes swimming, rubs or licks themselves you will need to reapply the sunscreen lotion.
The following dog breeds are most likely to get sunburn.
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- White German Shepherd
If you should own any of the above breed dogs, you will need to apply sunscreen lotion when they go out on hot days during the summer. Even the heat from the asphalt, beach sand, and sidewalks can radiate heat to your dog’s belly. Even if you don’t own any of the above dog breeds, during the summer, be safe and apply sunscreen on your pet.
If you cannot find a sunscreen for your pet locally you can ask the vet for their recommendations.
Note: If you suspect your pet has a sunburn, veterinary care is recommended. Dogs do not burn as easily as people, so more damage has occurred to the skin than you may be able to initially see.
7. No Fence, Keep Your Dog On A Leash.
During summer can mean new and exciting places to explore. You don’t want to lose your dog because he was distracted in an unfamiliar environment when he is off-leash. Not all dogs should be off-leash. In some communities, when dogs are in public places, leashes are required. Check with your local village hall for any rules they have regarding leashes. Make sure you understand your dog’s tendencies and always err on the side of being overly-cautious by having your dog on a leash when off the premises.
8. Watch Your Dog’s Weight.
After a long winter, dogs have a tendency to put on some extra pounds. Summer is perfect time to increase his exercise to get into shape. A pet that maintains his normal weight can add an extra two to three years of life verses pets that are overweight. Be careful not to over-exert your pet on hot days. Do exercises and walks early in the morning and after sunset.
9. Keep The Windows Protected With Screens.
If you don’t have air conditioning in the house, opening the windows is a must to get some air circulating in the summertime. However, this can be dangerous if you should have a pet in the house. You must keep those windows screened otherwise, you just might see your dog jump through one of them and go outside without your knowledge. Put screens on all windows that will be opened during the summer months. That is the best protection you can do for your pet safe.
10. Watch Out For Dangerous Plants.
Plants are nice and look great in the yard and attract birds and insects but, they can also be dangerous to pets. Many pet parents do not know the danger that some plants can cause for their pets. Plants like azaleas, lilies, chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies and many other plants can be very toxic and poisonous to pets. For a complete list of toxic plants from the ASPCA click on the following link: Toxic & Non-Toxic Plants. This plant list also includes plants that are safe and non-toxic to pets.
As you can see, you must always pay attention to your pet. Especially if they seem to be uncomfortable or seem to be in trouble, take notice. Having an extra eye on them is a must. As barbecues are getting underway, be sure that family members and visitors do not give your dog any alcohol, chocolate, grapes and onions as these foods and drinks can be fatal to dogs.
One final tip, Look out for heat exhaustion.
If your dog shows signs of heat stress or exhaustion—like heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobble legs—don’t place them in ice cold water, which can put your dog into shock. Do the following:
- Move your dog to a cool place
- Drape a damp towel over his/her body
- Rewet the cloth frequently
- Get your pet to the vet as soon as possible
A dog’s normal temperature is between 100° and 103°F, so once it hits 104°F, they are in dangerous territory and 106°F or higher can be fatal. So, getting your pet to the vet as quickly as possible can be a life saver.
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