One major thing that many dog owners overlook when it's sunny out is
their dog's feet. Paw pads can be easily burned by hot pavement. Summer
heat warms pavements just like a frying pan and if the pavement gets
too hot it can burn your dog’s paws. Sand can also get very hot, so use
the hand technique to check sandy surfaces too.
Press the back of your hand against the asphalt or concrete for 7
seconds to verify if it will be comfortable for your dog to walk on. If
it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
Avoid these surfaces during the day or consider putting protective booties or paw wax
2. Prevent sunburn.
The ear tips, bridge of the nose, around the eyes and abdomen are all
sensitive areas on a dog's skin. These areas have thinner skin and are
more exposed. So, if you plan to be out in hot sun for a while, consider
purchasing a sun protector
or high factor waterproof sunscreen MADE FOR DOGS and whenever possible
rest in the shade. Also if you have a thin haired dog and/or white dog
you may need to take extra precautions as they tend to get sunburned
more easily.3. Groom shedding dogs and long-haired dogs.
Most dogs shed their coats at the beginning of summer, so daily
grooming will help to remove the unwanted hair and will make your dog
more comfortable. For long-haired dogs, trimming their
coat may also help with keeping them cooler in the summer months.
Regularly grooming your dogs fur will also give you extra time to check
for ticks and fleas and to check their skin and paws are in good shape.
4. Keep away ticks and fleas.
Being outdoors is great, but wooded areas and long grasses also tend to be home for ticks and fleas. Read our articles on how to monitor and remove fleas and how to remove ticks safely and prevent your dog from getting a parasite-related disease.
5. Stay Hydrated.
Pack extra water for your dog on any excursion and make sure your dog's water bowl is always filled and close by.
6. Avoid water with blue-green algae.
Unfortunately, a growning number of ponds, lakes and rivers have
blooms of blue-green algae during warmer months. It's important to
monitor waterways for unusual algae blooms and be alert to local
advisories and warning signs around waterways. Read more about the dangers of blue-green algae and how to keep your dog safe here.
7. Recognize the signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke.
Dogs can succumb to heat stroke very quickly in warm and humid
weather because the only way dogs releases heat is by panting and
sweating through the foot pads and nose. Prevention is key. Avoid
vigorous exercise on hot days, keep your dog hydrated and do not leave
him/her alone outside or in a warm space (eg car). That said, if you
notice any of these signs in your dog or someone else's, they may be
suffering heat stroke:
- Vigorous panting
- Dark red gums
- Dry gums
- bloody vomiting or diarrhea
- lying down and unwilling or can’t get up
- staggering gait
- collapse and/or loss of consciousness
- thick saliva
If the dog is suffering heat stroke:
- move the dog out of the heat
- cool them off with a shower or tap water or place cool wet rags on
their footpads and head. Do NOT use ice cold water - this can actually
harm the dog further.
- offer the dog water but don’t force him/her to drink.
- call or visit the vet right away.
For more detail on identifying and treating heatstroke read our article here.
Note: Certain types of dogs are more sensitive to heat especially
elderly dogs, overweight dogs and brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds,
like Pugs, Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers and even
Staffies. Take extreme precautions with these
breeds during summer.
By taking a few simple precautions, you will help protect your dog and you will both have a lot more fun in the summer!