Now that summer is almost here, everyone in your family is going to be spending more time outdoors — including your canine companion. Keep in mind that summer heat and other conditions can be detrimental to the health, safety, and comfort of your furry friend. Following are nine seasonal tips to keep your dog safe when summer heat sizzles.
1. Learn the symptoms of heatstroke and watch for them, particularly if you live in a region where summer temperatures soar above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stroke symptoms include panting, fever, vomiting, and if severe enough, collapse. Take your dog to a cool, calm place immediately if you notice these symptoms — this may also warrant a trip to the vet’s office.
2. Keeping your dog’s water bowl filled with clean, cold water will help slay the effects of summer’s heat. On very hot days, you may have change the water several times, particularly if your dog’s drinking bowl is located outdoors.
3. If your home isn’t air conditioned, place a fan on the floor where your furry friend can lie in front of it. For an extra blast of cool refreshment, put a bowl of ice in front of the fan.
4. Never leave your pet in a vehicle on even a slightly warm day. Temperatures can quickly climb to well over 130 degrees Fahrenheit inside a car even when it’s only mildly warm outside.
5. Limit your exercise activities to the cool times of the day such as early morning or the hour just before dusk.
6. Leaving your dog outside alone for more than a few minutes on a hot summer day is a recipe for heatstroke. Even if you’ve got shady spots in your back yard, it’s best to keep your pet indoors when temperatures rise.
7. Don’t expect your dog to walk barefoot on a surface that you wouldn’t brave yourself. Sand and pavement both retain heat, so if you must walk on these during hot days, equip your dog with a good pair of booties to prevent its feet from getting burned.
8. Keeping your furry friend clean and groomed will help it remain cool and comfortable. Tangled undercoats in particular can cause discomfort during summer’s heat. If you decide to give your dog a haircut to help it stay cool, check with your vet first — some breeds actually fare better with fur.
9. Don’t leave air conditioning coolant lying around where your dog might be able to drink it. Some pets are tempted by its sweet taste — but it’s lethal when ingested. If you have reason to believe that your pet may have ingested even a small amount of coolant, take it to the vet immediately.