Our pets love summer just as much as we do! For many, it’s the best time of year to be out, about, and enjoying all that the season has to offer.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with taking your pet out for picnics, hikes, swimming, or running, keep in mind that warm weather can be dangerous. It’s hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and animals don’t sweat like people do! Read on to learn some important summer safety tips for dogs:
Never, ever leave your dog in the car: Okay, you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s so important that we still decided to list it first. It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. Most people don’t realize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun.
If you see a dog in a car on a summer day, assess the situation to find a way to rescue the animal before it’s too late. By any means necessary, get the dog out of the car and give them access to shade and water. You should also alert the authorities to the situation so that proper legal action can take place if necessary.
Keep dog’s paws cool: When the sun is cooking, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s also not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly (and they can fall out to be injured or killed in an accident).
Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water: Our dogs get much thirstier than we do when they get hot, and other than panting and drinking, they really have no way to cool themselves down. Keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them (especially dogs) and cause heat stroke. If you are going on a hike with your dogs, make sure you keep a bottle of fresh water with you and keep it cool by adding a few ice cubes before you leave!
Protect your dog’s skin from the sun: Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats (talk to your veterinarian first to see if it’s appropriate for your pet), and apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin if she or he has a thin coat.