Summer is here, and there are so many fun outdoor activities our dogs love to be a part of. But hot weather also requires vigilance and safety precautions so we can all enjoy the warmth and sun together safely. Here are a few summer safety tips to help you keep your dog safe during the hottest months of the year.
1. Make sure your pup stays hydrated.
During the hot summer months, it’s essential to make sure your pup stays hydrated. Providing plenty of fresh drinking water for your dog will help to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Make sure you change your dog’s water bowl often so they always have clean, fresh water. Don’t let your dog drink pond, lake, or ocean water while on outings, as drinking from bodies of water could make your pet sick.
2. Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day.
Like you, your dog is susceptible to heat exhaustion or heat stroke when exercising during the hottest part of the day. Even simply spending prolonged period out in the heat–without exercising–can overheat and dehydrate your dog.
When you exercise outdoors during the summer, spend shorter amounts of time outside than normal. Take plenty of breaks to cool down. And if possible, exercise early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid extreme heat exposure.
3. Steer clear of hot pavement.
Your dog’s paws can get burned in the summer heat. To protect your pup’s paws, avoid spending much time on hot asphalt, cement, or sand. You want to avoid letting your dog’s paws get painfully blistered.
4. Don’t leave your dog alone in a hot car.
One of the biggest summer hazards for dogs is being left alone in a hot car. It is never appropriate or safe to leave your dog unattended in the car.
Even parking in the shade and rolling the windows down won’t cool your vehicle enough to make it safe. Your dog can still overheat if you leave her alone in the car, so just don’t do it.
5. Give your pup someplace to cool off.
Provide plenty of water and shade so your dog can cool off outdoors. In addition, make sure they can spend plenty of time indoors so they’re not too exposed to the heat throughout the day.
6. Look out for blue green algae in freshwater lakes and ponds.
Blue green algae (cyanobacteria) is toxic to dogs, and can be deadly. Swimming in freshwater that contains blue green algae, or drinking algae contaminated water, could kill your dog.
This type of algae “blooms” on the surface of lakes, creeks, and ponds. It’s often described as having a pea soup appearance. If you dog comes in contact with blue green algae, they could die within a matter of days.
Prompt treatment is essential if your dog has been exposed to blue green algae. For more information, take a look at this article all about algae poisoning.
7. Protect your dog’s skin from sun damage.
Did you know that your dog can get sunburned, too? Prolonged sun exposure can burn your pup’s skin, just like yours. Luckily, there are doggie sunscreens that are great for protecting your pet’s skin.
Keep in mind that the sunscreens we humans use are actually toxic to your pet. Steer clear of regular sunscreen for your pup and only use something formulated just for her.
8. Check for fleas and ticks.
Fleas and ticks are pesky nuisances during the summer months, and can leave your dog majorly uncomfortable. Even worse, ticks carry lyme disease and can make your dog sick.
Check your pet for fleas and ticks every evening after they’ve been outside. If possible, consider putting your dog on a flea, tick, and heartworm preventative medication.
9. Watch for hotspots and treat them quickly.
Summertime can trigger itchy, uncomfortable hotspots on your dog’s skin. When your dog licks irritated areas on his skin over and over, that can cause hotspots to form. Keep a watch on your dog’s skin and keep his fur clean. If you see hotspots, treat them promptly to help them heal as quickly as possible. Here’s more information on hotspots and what causes them.
10. Put a doggy life jacket on your pup at the lake.
If your furry friend loves to take a swim on hot summer days, consider getting her a doggy life jacket. These are particularly useful for pet safety if you take your dog out on the boat, in deeper waters. Life vests help prevent your dog from getting too exhausted, and will help you get them to safety if you need to.
11. Travel with caution.
When you travel in the summer, use extra caution to keep your pets safe in moving vehicles at all times. For example, don’t let your dog ride in the bed of your truck. In addition, don’t let your dog hang out the passenger window.
Even though that happy face and flapping ears are adorable, it’s really dangerous for your dog to be anywhere but inside a moving vehicle.
12. Check your dog for bites and stings.
Summer is the season for stinging, biting dangers such as wasps, bees, yellow jackets, and snakes. Keep a lookout for nests in the areas where your dog spends time outside. Additionally, pay attention to any knots or bites that you might notice. If you suspect your dog has been bitten by a snake, get her to the vet immediately.
13. Don’t shave off your dog’s coat.
In the sweltering heat, it seems like shaving your dog’s coat would cool him off, right? Not exactly. Some dogs’ coats actually help to keep them cool in the summertime. Double coated dogs such as collies and huskies are a great example. If you need to brush or trim your dog’s fur, that’s great–but avoid the shave.
14. Know the signs of heat stroke.
Dogs and humans have similar symptoms when it comes to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Keep a close eye on your dogs when they spend time outside in the heat. Make sure they take plenty of water breaks and come inside often.
Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog is displaying some or all of the following:
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid panting
- Rapid heart rate
- Elevated temperature (feels warm to touch)
- Dry nose
- Red appearance in and around mouth
- Lethargic, unusually quiet, or unresponsive
- Tremors or seizures
- Staggering or difficulty standing
- Passing blood in stool or from mouth
If your pet is having some or all of the above symptoms, get them to a shady area or take the mindoors. Cool water immersion will help bring down her body temperature (not cold). You can also apply ice to her chest, neck, or head.
Licking ice cubes or drinking a little bit of cool water might help your pet begin to rehydrate. Once you have her comfortable, take her to the veterinarian.
15. Use Huan Smart Tags to protect your dog at home and away.
Worried about a runaway dog this summer? For an added layer of protection all year round, get lightweight, durable Huan Smart Tags for your dogs. Powered by low energy Bluetooth technology, Huan alerts you automatically when your pet is detected away from home or away from you. Additionally, our app allows you to check up on your dog when she’s home alone. Our tags come in a variety of vibrant colors. Pick your favorite here.