Summer Safe Practices

Golden retriever in the summer

The dog days are almost here! Summer, the warmest season of the year marks the beginning of endless days and warm nights. Although the summer can provide unforgettable experiences and good times, it can also bring potential harm for your pets. During this time of year, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the hot weather. Below we’re going to outline tips and safety measures to help ensure a fun and safe summer with your furry best friend.

You may think it’s fun to run errands with your dog during the summer, but it’s actually much safer to leave your dogs at home on hot days. Under no circumstances should you leave your dog in the car, even if for only for a few minutes! Temperatures inside a closed car can reach well over 100° F. Often times keeping the windows open or cracked does not slow the car temperature from rising. Unlike us humans, dogs do not sweat as a way of cooling their core body temperature, and therefore they cannot stand heat like we can.

In extreme temperatures, it does not take long for a dog to get overheated, overwhelmed and potentially suffer from heatstroke. A dog can recover from moderate heatstroke (body temperature 104° F to 106° F) if treated within an hour. However, severe heatstroke (body temperature of 106° F and above) can be deadly if not given immediate veterinarian attention. Remember that any pet that cannot cool himself off is at risk for heatstroke.

Signs Your Dog Is Suffering From Heatstroke:

  • Rapid panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting – sometimes with blood
  • Diarrhea

How To Prevent Heatstroke:

  • Do not leave your dog in a parked car even if you’re parked in the shade as temperatures can easily rise above 100° F.
  • When outdoors, make sure your dog has access to plenty of shade.
  • If inside, keep your dog in the coolest part of the house, near air conditioning if possible. This is one of the best ways to keep your dog cool and safely out of the heatstroke zone.
  • Restrict exercise and activities – even a walk on seriously hot days can cause heatstroke.
  • Avoid places that do not provide shade like the beach, concrete, asphalt or any areas that reflect heat.

Summer Safe Tips:

  • If your dog needs exercise, it’s best to go early in the morning when it tends to be cooler. Go for a slow stroll through a park with plenty of trees for breaks in the shade. Also, don’t forget to bring plenty of water along!
  • Keep your dog hydrated. Water can help decrease a dog’s body temperature.
  • If your dog knows how to swim, a dip in the pool or the local lake can be a great form of exercise and a way to cool off!
  • Set up a kiddie pool for frequent cool dunks.

How do you keep your dog cool in the summer? Share your stories and pics here!