How to keep your best friend safe and happy when the temps soar.
Ice is one way to cool off in the summer. (Photo: Scott Biales/Shutterstock)
The dog days of summer can be tough on your canine pal. From sizzling pavement to annoying insects, hot weather just teems with potentially hazardous threats for your pup.
Here's how to keep your dog cool and safe when the temperatures skyrocket.
Don't leave your dog alone in the heat
Most loving pet parents would never consider leaving their furry friends in a parked car. But you may think you can dart in to grab takeout and your pet will be fine for a few minutes. Even with the window cracked, in just 10 minutes the temperature in a car can rise almost 20 degrees F (11 degrees C), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, in many states, it's illegal to leave pets confined in cars in dangerous conditions. Be smart and run your errands and leave your pup safe and cool at home.
Provide water and shade
Whether he's outside, inside or on the go, make sure your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water. You may even want to float some ice cubes in his bowl to make his drink cooler. If your dog is going to be spending time outside, make sure he has shade — preferably with a tarp or tree — and where there is good airflow. A doghouse or other confined space doesn't offer relief from the heat.
Check the pavement
If it's really hot, walk your dog in the grass to protect his paws. (Photo: Annette Shaff/Shutterstock)
If it's too hot for you to walk barefoot on the sidewalk, it's probably too hot for your pup. Asphalt can burn your dog's paws when it gets very hot, so either walk on the grass or avoid taking a walk until the cooler part of the day.
Know the signs of overheating
Is your pet just hot or getting dangerous overheated? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) points out the symptoms of overheating, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, weakness, stupor or possibly collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, as well as a temperature of more than 104 degrees.
Think twice about clipping
Although it seems to make sense that your dog would be cooler with less hair, don't shave your dog. Your pet's coat actually protects her from the heat, keeping her from overheating.
Be safe near the water
Wash your dogs paws after romping in the sand and saltwater. (Photo: rebeccaashworth/Shutterstock)
Whether your bringing your pal to the beach or to the lake, be prepared. Know local ordinances to see when and where dogs are allowed and if they have to be on leash. Don't force your pet to go in the water if he doesn't want to, and be on the lookout for potential perils like blue-green algae (on lakes). Remember, Animal Planet points out, that anything that can harm you can also harm your pet, including sunburn, riptides, jellyfish, broken glass, sharp shells and aggressive dogs. Discourage your dog from drinking seawater or lake water by having lots of clean, fresh water on hand. Rinse off his paws when you leave because sand and seawater can be irritating. Have a first aid kit handy for stings, scrapes or injuries.
Protect against insects
Just like mosquitoes bug you in summer, they bug your pet. Plus they have the extra dangerous disadvantage that they can be carrying the deadly heartworm disease. Make sure your pet is taking monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventative medication.
Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.
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