Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on October 27, 2016
Summer
Summer Safety Tips Guide:

Things to Consider

  • Hot Temperatures. In most areas, summer temperatures are hotter than those of other seasons. Prolonged exposure to heat causes body temperature to elevate, called “hyperthermia.” People can adjust their layers of clothing to accommodate hot weather. Dogs, on the other hand, rely on their owners to keep them safe, cool and comfortable. Because dogs don’t sweat, they don’t tolerate high temperatures. Dogs pant to exchange warm air for cool air, but when the outside temperature is close to their body temperature, panting doesn’t cool them down. Large, long-haired, sick, fat, young or old dogs are especially susceptible to heat.
  • Heat Stroke. Heat stroke is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. It can be caused by a number of things:
    • Being left in a car (even with windows cracked and in the shade)
    • Being confined on concrete, asphalt or other heat-retaining surfaces
    • Being confined without access to water and shade
    • Being muzzled
    • Strenuous exercise
  • Dogs with a history of heat stroke or seizures are predisposed to suffering during hot weather. Brachycephalic breeds with flat faces, such as Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs and Pekingese, heat up faster than other dogs because of their compromised respiratory systems. Signs of heat stroke include:
    • Heavy panting
    • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
    • Elevated heart rate
    • Bright red tongue and gums
    • Thick saliva
    • Drooling
    • Vomiting
    • High rectal temperature
    • Weakness
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Seizures
    • Collapse
    • Coma
    • Death
  • Pottying. Dogs, especially those living mainly indoors, may resist going outside to potty in hot weather.
  • Exercise. Dogs should be walked or exercised early in the morning or in the evening when the weather is not hot.
  • Coat Care. A dog’s coat insulates it against hot and cold temperature extremes and provides protection from sunburn. Owners should groom their dogs regularly during hot weather, even if they aren’t dirty or shedding. Many people trim their dogs’ hair short in the summer.
  • Paw Care. Owners often don’t think about how hot the ground is when they are walking their dogs – especially on pavement, concrete or sand. Paws can be seriously burned, requiring extensive medical attention. Booties are available to protect dogs’ paws from burns. Petroleum jelly can be rubbed into their foot pads to keep them moist and provide some protection.
  • Dehydration. Dogs often become dehydrated during hot weather. Dark-coated dogs attract more heat than lighter-colored dogs. Pets should always have free access to a full bowl of fresh water and a shady place to rest. Many dogs enjoy chewing on ice-cubes.
  • Diet. Heat can drain a dog’s energy reserves. Most dogs are less active in hot weather and need less food to keep them fit.
  • Cars. Dogs should never be left unattended in a closed car. It only takes minutes for a vehicle to turn into a furnace, even when the windows are cracked.
  • Pools. Dogs shouldn’t be allowed free access to swimming pools. While most dogs can swim, some cannot. Chlorine and other pool chemicals can cause digestive upset. However, a plastic kiddy pool, with water and a block of ice in it, can be a terrific place for dogs in hot weather. Also, monitored swimming can be a great way to exercise dogs (and their owners).
  • Parasites. Fleas, ticks and other external parasites are more common in warm months. Parasite prevention should be done in consultation with a veterinarian.
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