Summertime is a time of fun and outdoor activities, but it’s important to prioritize your dog’s health during the hot months. It can bring soaring temperatures that pose risks to our beloved dogs, but with proper precautions, you can protect them from the heat.
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Taking care of your dog’s health in the summer is essential to ensuring they stay happy and comfortable during the hot weather. Remember, each dog is unique, so consult with your veterinarian for specific advice based on your dog’s breed, age, and any underlying health conditions. Here are some tips to help you keep your dog healthy during the summer months:
6 indicators your dog may be overheating
- Heat exhaustion: Dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion when their body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Signs of heat exhaustion include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, rapid breathing, and lethargy.
- Sunburn: Dogs with light-colored fur or thin coats are susceptible to sunburn. Areas with less hair, such as the nose, ears, belly, and groin, are particularly vulnerable. Sunburn can cause redness, pain, swelling, and peeling of the skin.
- Heatstroke: Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a dog’s body temperature reaches a critical level. If not treated promptly, it can lead to organ failure, seizures, coma, and even death. Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include collapse, vomiting, diarrhea, bright red gums, rapid heart rate, and disorientation.
- Dehydration: Dogs can become dehydrated quickly in hot weather, especially if they don’t have access to fresh water or shade. Dehydration can lead to lethargy, dry gums, loss of appetite, and increased heart rate.
- Heat-related injuries during exercise: Excessive exercise or strenuous activities during hot weather can put dogs at risk of heat-related injuries. Overexertion can lead to exhaustion, muscle cramps, and difficulty regulating body temperature.
- Skin irritation: Double-coated dogs such as Huskies, Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, etc. can trap moisture and create a humid environment against the dog’s skin, leading to skin irritation, hot spots, and bacterial or fungal infections. The trapped moisture can also attract parasites such as fleas and ticks.
Tips to Take Care of Your Pet During the Summer:
- Have plenty of Fresh, Cold Water Available: Make sure your dog has access to fresh and clean water at all times, both indoors and outdoors. Keep multiple water bowls available and consider adding ice cubes to their water to help keep it cool.
- Create a Shaded Area: Set up a shaded spot in your yard where your dog can relax and escape direct sunlight. This could be under a tree or by using a canopy or umbrella.
- Avoid Midday Walks: The pavement can get extremely hot during summer days, which can burn your dog’s paws. Try to schedule walks during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. Test the pavement with your hand before taking your dog for a leash walk.
- Limit Exercise During Peak Heat: Avoid intense exercise or long walks during the hottest parts of the day. Excessive exercise in high temperatures can lead to heatstroke. Instead, engage in activities early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler.
- Provide Indoor Comfort: Keep your home cool by using fans or air conditioning, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Create a comfortable area for your dog indoors, ensuring proper airflow and access to water.
- Protect Against Parasites: Summer brings an increase in fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Use veterinarian-recommended preventive treatments to protect your dog from these parasites. Check your dog regularly for ticks, fleas, and any signs of discomfort.
- Consider Cooling Products: Help your dog cool down with the help of cooling products such as cooling mats, shirts, bandanas, or vests. These products can provide relief from the heat and help maintain a comfortable body temperature.