You may spend a lot of time trying to keep cool during hot summer days, but what about your pet? When temperatures and humidity rise, it’s just as important to keep our pets cool, too. Pets suffer the same problems humans do, like overheating, dehydration and sunburn. By taking some simple precautions and using common sense, you and your dog can both enjoy the summer.
Keep your pet cool with plenty of water and shade
Dogs only have sweat glands in their noses and in the pads of their paws, so they are more susceptible to overheating. They pant and drink water to cool down, so always have fresh, cool water available for your dog – whether on a walk, in the car or in a tip-proof bowl in the house or yard.
Don’t leave your dog outside during the hottest part of the day. Make sure there is shade available. Or fill a shallow kiddie pool with water for your dog to play in on hot days. To prevent drowning, don’t leave pets unsupervised in swimming pools or ponds.
Don't take your pets to crowded summer events
Asphalt and concrete get very hot and can burn your pet's paws. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot on the pavement, then it’s too hot for your pet! If you must walk your dog during the afternoon, make it short and keep him on the grass to help protect his paws.
Pets can get sunburned, too
Pets with light-colored fur may need sunscreen on their ears and noses to prevent skin cancer. If you shave your dog’s coat in the summer, be aware that it will make him more prone to sunburn.
Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours
Heat exhaustion in dogs is often caused by dehydration and overheating from running or over-exercising during hot weather. To prevent heat exhaustion, walk during the cooler morning and evening hours. This is especially important if your dog is overweight, a puppy, a senior dog or a breed with a very short nose like a Bulldog, Boxer or Pekingese.
Look for signs of heat exhaustion and call your vet if your dog becomes dazed, listless, staggers, pants hard or vomits. Apply cold wet towels, give cool water and ice cubes, and rush your dog to the vet immediately.
Never leave your pet in a parked car!
Leaving your dog inside a parked car can be fatal. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked is not enough. The inside of your car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, causing heat stroke, brain damage and even death!
If you have to leave your dog in the car for even a few minutes, leave the engine running and the air conditioning on, with your dog inside and the doors locked. If you see a pet in a parked car on a hot summer day, go to the nearest store to have the owner paged, notify a security guard or animal control official, or call the police.
Never drive with your dog loose or tied in back of a pickup truck.
Dogs can be thrown into traffic or choked to death. Paws can be burned on hot truck beds. Keep them inside the vehicle cab or safely secured in a crate with protection from the sun.