Summer is a terrific time to be a dog owner. It lets you run, swim, and play with your dog in nicer weather than any other time of the year. However, summer also brings unique risks to your dog’s health that you should keep in mind throughout the season.
Heat stroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously high. It is most common when dogs are left in a car for too long, or when they exercise in the heat. Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather, and always remember that a cracked window is not enough to cool a car. Your dog always needs access to shade outside. Muzzling interferes with a dog’s ability to cool itself by panting and should be avoided. When walking your dog in the summer season, always be sure to give your pet a break every now and then, just like you animals can become fatigued.
Dogs can burn in the sun just like people can. White, light-colored, and thinly coated dogs have an increased risk of sunburn. Sunburn causes pain, itching, peeling, and other problems. To prevent sunburn while walking your dog, apply a waterproof sunscreen formulated for babies or pets. Be sure to cover the tips of your dog’s ears and nose, the skin around its mouth, and its back.
Burned Foot Pads
Sidewalk, patio, street, sand, and other surfaces can burn your dog’s footpads. Walking your dog in the morning and at night when outdoor surfaces are coolest is perhaps the best course of action. Press your hand onto surfaces for 30 seconds to test them before allowing your dog to walk on them. If it is painful for you, it will be painful for your dog.
Prevent dehydration by providing your dog with unrestricted access to fresh and cool water both indoors and outside. Ice cubes and frozen chicken or beef broth encourage your dog to take in more fluids and help keep it cool. You can also feed your dog wet dog food during the summer to increase its fluid intake.
Fleas, mold, flowers, and other potential allergens are common during summer. Allergies cause itching (and with it, excessive scratching), coughing, sneezing, discomfort, and other problems for your dog. Keep your dog away from allergy triggers when possible, especially if you know it has a particular allergy. Ask your veterinarian about whether your pet would benefit from a canine antihistamine or other medication.
This summers safety tips apply to dogs in general, but no one knows your dog better than you. If your dog is well behaved around food, for example, then it may be safer to let it be near a barbecue. Do not be afraid to let your dog off its leash to run and enjoy summer, but do be aware of what possible dangers may be nearby before you do so. Following these tips will not only make things a little more comfortable while walking your dog, but it will also ensure the safety of your furry friend.