Summertime and the living are easy . . . with a host of seasonal activities, pools, and beaches open, and the kids out of school, summertime can be a busy time for many of us! As we move into the warmer months, it’s important to remember that amidst all the fun your four-footed friends need special care in the heat and humidity. Taking care of your dogs in the summertime requires a few special considerations, so let’s dig into summertime dog care and see what we need to know!
All You Need to Know Abouy Dog Care in Summer
The defining characteristics of summer–heat, and sunshine–can be wonderfully fun for humans, but they pose some special issues for pets. Most dogs come wrapped in their own fur, and that fur fills a number of functions that keep the dog healthy. However, in the heat, a dog’s coat can cause them to overheat. Overheating can lead to a number of health issues or even death, so it’s best to take that into account during outdoor activities. For breeds with heavier coats, a close trim and cleaning might be in order at the beginning of the summer. This can help the dog’s comfort and let it enjoy more outside time with you.
When you’re enjoying outdoor activities with your pooch, there are a few safety considerations to remember. Most dogs walk around barefoot, and the concrete gets hot in the sun. This can lead to burns or blisters on the pads of the paw, and serious discomfort for your poor dog. As a general rule of thumb: hold the back of your hand to the concrete surface in question for five to seven seconds (one Mississippi, two Mississippi . . .). If you pull your hand away or are uncomfortable, that surface is too hot for your dog’s paws. A good way to avoid this is to walk your dog early in the morning or after the sun goes down in order to avoid the heat of the day.
When you’re outside, make sure your dog has adequate shelter and water. In hotter weather, this means shade from the sun. Dog houses make poor shelters in hot weather, as they tend to trap heat and elevate the temperature even further. Good shade is good in the short term, but limited time outdoors in really hot weather is best. Dogs appreciate air conditioning as much as we do when the weather is really ugly, so bear that in mind when planning outside time.
It goes without saying, but during hot weather, your dog will want to drink more. Clean fresh water is a must, and it needs to be consistently and readily available. This means while on walks, so investing in a collapsible dog bowl and a large reusable water bottle is a good idea for summertime walks. It’s also good to keep an eye on your dog’s behavior. Signs of overheating include excess panting, fatigue, whining or crying, excess salivation, and difficulty breathing. At the first sign of any of these issues, it’s time to get your pooch into the shade and give them some water!
We hope these tips help you enjoy a safe and fun summer with your dog. There’s every reason your four-legged friend should enjoy the season’s activities with you. Just be aware of their needs, plan accordingly, and keep an eye on them while outside and you’ll both have the best summer ever!