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5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This SummerJuly 7, 2022

Summer is here, and all of us are looking for ways to stay cool. But how do we keep our four-legged family members cool in extreme weather?

Dogs can get summertime heat exhaustion and heat stroke, similar to people. Just as there are precautions you can take to keep yourself cool during hot weather months, there are precautions you should take for your dog. Below are some tips on survival for dogs during the summertime.

Why Is Summer Dangerous for Dogs?

Summer is a challenging time for pets. For one, dogs have trouble regulating their body temperature when it is hot. Humidity makes it even worse by adding an extra layer of warmth. In Ontario, the average temperature in July is 76.4 °F and can reach 89.6 °F in August. Before summer arrives, it is vital to start thinking about keeping your dog safe.

Dogs are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses than humans because their cooling system is different from ours. They do not sweat like humans (although some breeds may have more sweat glands than others). As a result, dogs can struggle with high temperatures if they do not get enough water or shade. 

Even if your dog does not seem affected by the heat right now, remember that they can still get overheated if they are not adequately cared for during these hot days ahead. Also, avoid leaving your dog outside without shade or access to water. The sun can get scorching hot, and it can be dangerous for them if they are left outside.

5 Ways to Cool Down Your Dog This Summer

The best way to keep your dog cool is to ensure they have plenty of shade and water. Give them ice cubes or frozen water bottles to lick on hot days if possible. If you live in a hot place during the summer months, consider getting a kiddie pool for your dog so he can take a dip when he wants to cool off.

1. Keep Your Dog Indoors

Set your air conditioner to a suitable temperature for humans and dogs. If you do not have one or cannot afford one, ensure there is shade in the house and a fan for air circulation. If the temperature goes over 80 degrees, do not leave your dog outside without shade and water.

Limit walks and exercise during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 5pm). Also, avoid exercising in direct sunlight. Instead, go out exploring early in the morning or later in the evening.

2. Do Not Leave Your Dog in the Car

Even if it is only for a few minutes, leaving your dog in a parked car can be deadly because of the high temperatures inside the car. Even on a nice day with the windows rolled down a few inches and an open sunroof, leaving dogs in parked vehicles can be fatal. 

Temperatures inside cars can rise quickly, even when outside temperatures are not very high. Even on days when it feels cooler outside than usual due to rain or wind chills, it is still possible for temperatures inside cars to reach lethal levels within minutes.

3. Provide Plenty of Water and Shade

Dogs are much more likely to overheat if they do not have access to water or shade, so encourage them to drink regularly throughout the day and provide shady spots they can stay in.

Always provide water for your dog to help keep their body temperature down on hot days by aiding in cooling through sweating and panting (both actions increase evaporation). In addition to keeping water available, provide ice cubes periodically during exercise sessions.

If you think your dog is not drinking enough water and he is vomiting or having diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately because this could indicate a serious illness.

4. Take Extra Precautions with Senior Dogs and Puppies

Take extra care of senior dogs and puppies. Senior dogs have less heat tolerance than younger dogs, and puppies can overheat quickly because their bodies are still growing and developing their natural cooling mechanisms. Older pups also do not always know how far they can go before getting too tired. In addition, dogs more sensitive to heat also need extra care during the summer.

5. Avoid Hot Pavements

Avoid letting your dog sit, stand, or walk directly on concrete or asphalt on hot days. Concrete heating up in the broiling sun all day can burn your pet’s paws. If the ground is too hot for you to touch or stand on, it is also too hot for your four-legged friends. Instead, find a grassy spot where they can cool off by rolling around or laying down. 

How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs

Dogs can suffer from heatstroke just like people do, but due to their fur coats, they may not show signs of being overheated until it is too late. Heatstroke is a severe condition where a dog’s body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Heat stroke in dogs is a severe problem. It can lead to death, so it is vital to be aware of symptoms and preventative measures. You need to be extra vigilant when it is hot outside, especially if you live in a warm climate or spend time outside with your dog.

The main symptom of heat stroke in dogs is vomiting. Other symptoms include heavy panting, seizures, and a high body temperature. If your dog shows these signs, you should immediately cool them down by putting them under cold water or applying ice cubes to their paws and groin area. You should call your veterinarian if they do not respond, or if their condition worsens.

Final Thoughts

Summer is a favorite time for many, but it can also be dangerous for our pets. Dogs can overheat quickly, so you must take steps to keep them comfortable and safe this summer. The sweltering days of early summer will eventually give way to autumn’s cooler breezes. But until then, owners can take a few steps to minimize risks. 

Remember to provide adequate shade and water. Also, limit your time outdoors with your dog during the hottest hours of the day. Following these guidelines should help your furry friend stay safe and comfortable throughout the most oppressive summer months.

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