Summer is here! This is the season we (and our pups) live for. Long play days, thick green grass, water sprinklers, and cool treats.
But remember: Summer is not all fun and games. There are hazards that you should be aware of that can harm your dog. Here are 4 tips to help you and your dog have a great summer:
1. TRAVEL - Every summer, dog parents have to be reminded not to leave pups inside their hot cars. Outside temperatures above 75 degrees can be fatal to a pet left inside a car (even with the windows open). Those warm summer days can turn deadly in just a matter of minutes. Dogs tend to run hotter than humans. Their normal body temperature is near 102 degrees and they don't do a great job of regulating their body temperature without a little help. Unlike humans, dogs don't have sweat glands. They sweat through their paws and cool themselves by panting to bring cool air into their lungs. Inside a hot car, they begin to inhale the stagnant hot air which causes their body temperature to rise even more. This often leads to organ failure and death within minutes.
Bottom Line: If there's no one to stay in the car (with A/C running) or you can't take your dog inside with you, then it's best to leave them at home.
2. OUTSIDE - If you must leave your dog outside for a long stretch, be sure to provide them a safe, shaded place to relax along with lots of fresh, cool water. Be sure to also check the weather for any upcoming storms, as the summer season is known for pop-up rain storms and lightning. If your backyard or patio doesn't have a shaded area, set up a patio umbrella or table for them to lie under. Be sure to provide a comfortable space with adequate airflow such as a raised bed or thick grass. In fact, lack of circulation inside some dog houses can also lead to excessive heat exposure. Be sure your dog house has adequate ventilation and is raised or placed on thick grass to allow for circulation.
3. WATER - Make sure your pup has access to clean water everywhere he/she will be confined. Without it, your pup can't regulate their body temperature. A sprinkler system can be refreshing and healthy. A kiddie pool is the perfect play and drinking station.
4. PLAY - Dogs don't know that taking a walk can be dangerous, but YOU DO. Hot pavement is a daily threat in the summer. Be sure to check the pavement using your hand. If it burns the back of your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.
Try walking on grassy areas and schedule walks and play time for early mornings or evenings, when it's cooler. If you must take them out in the heat, get a pair of hiking booties to protect their paws. They'll take some getting used to, but their paws will thank you. Be sure to have water with you!
With a little preparation, this summer can be your dog's best one yet!