Summer Tips for Dog Owners

Summer is my favorite season and my dogs generally feel the same way. Although Remy isn’t wild about the heat because of his double coat he still begs to go outside all the time. He and Henry love basking in the sun then stretching out in the shade. But there are dangers in summer that spring and fall do not pose for dogs. I’m absolutely crazy about the boys and know most dog owners are the same way I thought some summer tips for dog owners might help.

 

  1. The most obvious tip is that you should NEVER leave your dog in a parked car! Even with a temperature of only 60°F a closed car can reach 100°F on a sunny day.
  2. Keep fresh, cold water in your dog’s bowl at all times, especially if the dog is outside, you don’t have air conditioning, or the dog has been playing.
  3. If you must leave your dog outdoors in the heat be sure he has a shady place to rest and a great deal of cold water!
  4. A great way to keep water really cold is to put ice cubes in it. If you want to keep your dog’s water cold for a longer time try freezing water in a plastic container about half the size of the bowl. Drop the “ice cube” into a bowl of fresh, cold water and your dog will have cold water for hours.
  5. Stay current with flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Summer bugs can cause life-threatening illnesses! And don’t forget that ticks carry diseases transmittable to humans, too.

Summer-Tips

  1. Leaving a box fan or window fan running if you don’t have air conditioning can help keep dogs cooler indoors.
  2. Not all dogs can swim. Don’t assume your dog will be safe at a pond, lake, river, or the ocean. In ground swimming pools are also dangerous for the non-swimmers.
  3. Summer is a good time to update your pet’s ID tags if you’ve moved, changed your phone number or there have been other changes in the information you list on the tags.
  4. Keep extra water in your car in case of a breakdown. This is important for people as well as dogs.
  5. Buy a plastic kiddie pool for your dogs. Even Remy, who thinks he’ll drown if his toes get wet, will go in our kiddie pool!
  6. Brachycephalic dogs (the ones with the kind of pushed in noses like bulldogs and pugs) need a special eye kept on them in the heat. Dogs pant as a form of evaporative cooling, and air must easily flow for the process to work. The shorter faces of brachycephalic dogs create big problems for airflow. These dogs suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). This means breathing is less efficient and therefore cooling is also less efficient. These dogs do most of their breathing through the mouth but these dogs have long, soft palates which block the flow of air. Many also have small tracheas as well. This means these dogs have an exceptionally difficult time cooling themselves through panting. Take extra precautions with these breeds.
  7. If your dog has been in the heat he may suffer heat stroke. Watch for excessive panting and salivation, a purple tongue and/or gums. Dogs suffering heat stroke will develop seizures. If you believe your dog is suffering from heat stroke immediately wet him with cool but not icy water and call your veterinarian immediately!
  8. Humidity can be as troubling for your dog as extreme heat. Keep an eye on your dog on those days, too!
  9. Dogs can get sunburned just like you so be sure not to allow your dog to be in the sun for very long. Make him take breaks in the house or the shade. If your dog is hairless, white, or has light-colored fur he’s more likely to get sunburned. And dogs can get skin cancer from sunburns just like humans.
  10. Summer increases the risks for dogs to become lost. Thunderstorms, fireworks, and more people running in and out of the house can lead to dogs getting loose. Remind people to be mindful of the dog when opening doors. Keep an eye on weather reports so you can bring your dog inside if a storm is due so the thunder won’t make him run off.
  11. When you develop a disaster plan be sure to include your dog like any other family member. In our neck of the woods we have to worry about tornadoes in the summer. We’ve got the boys’ information along with ours should we have to locate them after a disaster.
  12. Another risk for losing your pet is when he goes on vacation with you. Be very careful about keeping him leashed so he can’t bolt away. Keep a recent picture of your dog with you in case he does wander off. Make sure he has an ID tag with a phone number you can be reached at so you can get him back if the worst happens.
  13. Protect your dog’s feet on hot pavement. A few years ago my husband and I took Remy to an art fair with some old high school friends. I was in my wheelchair so we were in the street so there would be more room for the group. A couple came up to me and mentioned that Remy was clearly in pain from the asphalt. I was mortified and grateful! We immediately moved to a grassy area so we could check Remy’s feet. I was relieved to find his pads were not burned but I still felt horrible that he’d been in pain from the hot pavement. Be aware that pavement, asphalt, and even sand can become very hot! If your feet couldn’t stand the heat your dog’s feet probably can’t either.
  14. I love fishing! I could fish from the pre-dawn hours until long after dark, and I have done so more than once. But fishing lures can be dangerous for my dogs. They can look like toys to the boys and to any dog so be sure to keep fishing equipment locked up and keep dogs safely away when you’re casting!
  15. We have camped at a lake so known for giving people swimmer’s itch that they sell t-shirts that read “I got swimmer’s itch at Higgins Lake!” Microscopic parasites are released from infected snails that are present in fresh and salt water. They are generally found more in the warmer, shallower water where kids and pets swim. So after letting your dog swim in lakes, ponds, or rivers, be sure to rinse them thoroughly with fresh water!
  16. Cooling mats are great for dogs inside or out!
  17. Your yard could have toxic plants that weren’t there last year. Use this link to find the ASPCA poison control page: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants
  18. Restrict heavy exercise periods and limit them to the times of day when the heat is less intense. Early morning or evening runs are best.
  19. If you do go on a long walk or run with your dog carry a collapsible bowl and extra water for him. Just as you need to rehydrate, so does your dog.
  20. Keep your dog, especially the double-coated or long-haired breeds groomed. Removing excess fur will help keep your dog cool.

With a little extra care your dog will enjoy his summer safely!

 

 

 

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Author: Elizabeth

I'm a wife, mom, and grandma (known as Bam) who loves cooking, baking, gardening, and all things that go into making a cozy coop for my brood. I have a disability so you may pick up tips on how to do things when some things just don't work right!

2 thoughts on “Summer Tips for Dog Owners”

  1. Excellent article Beth. I had no idea how much the summer sun affected dogs?!? I have learned so much, and I now know what to look for with dogs in distress, and I can’t thank you enough. My dogs are family members, and they get top notch treatment!! Well, now they will!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a friend who has hairless dogs and I knew they sunburn but I didn’t realize, until Houston, that dogs with light colored fur can burn, too! And I know you love your pups so anything to help!

      Like

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