Summer can be hard on our dogs considering they can never remove their beautiful fur coats. Keep your pup cool and cared for with our list of dog summer safety tips.
Your dog’s got one problem with his luxurious fur coat; he can’t take it off. That’s a big drag on steamy summer days. So being the excellent pup parent that you are, you already know how important it is to help your dog cool off when the temperatures soar. Just like us, our furry friends overheat, dehydrate, even sunburn on hot days. Last week, we shared the dangers of keeping your dog in a parked car. This week, we’ve gone to the top dog sources for summer safety tips for your best friends. The ASPCA reminds us to:
Play it Cool
The sun burns brightest between 10 am and 2 pm each day. So it’s best to schedule your dog’s outdoor activities before or after these prime hours.
Beat the Street
Protect those precious paw pads by keeping your dog off hot pavement. Since dogs perspire through their paws, long periods on hot asphalt and other surfaces can reduce their ability to cool themselves. Burns happen fast so stick to grass or dirt surfaces or head out with your dog when temps are cooler.
Walk on the Shady Side
They call them the “lazy days of summer” for a reason. It’s not the time to race around with your dog. Take it easy with shady walks or dips in the water, and if your dog seems wiped out, take him home to rest. Prolonged exposure to high heat can lead to heatstroke. Elderly, overweight, snub-nosed, long-haired and large dogs particularly just can’t handle the heat for long.
Your dog can’t handle the heat outside all day. Make sure he’s not in the sun for long hours and always has fresh, cool water in a shady spot where he can rest (drop ice cubes in his bowl to keep water cool). Better yet, bring him inside to cool off in air-conditioned bliss.
Skip the Close Crop
Believe it or not, that thick fur coat can come in handy in the summertime. Fur protects your dog from sunburn, prevents bug bites, even insulates dogs from the dangers of high heat. So to keep him feeling (and looking) his best all summer, don’t your shave your dog’s fur down to the skin.
Consider the Snub
Short-faced dogs can’t pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs making it harder for them to cool down on hot days. Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, Boston Terriers and other brachycephalic (aka snub-nosed) doggies, and any pooch with a heart or lung condition should stay inside in cool air-conditioned comfort as much as possible.
Dog Paddle Know-How
Not all dogs know how to swim or like the water. Ease your dog into swimming slowly to keep the experience positive and fun for your pup. Consider suiting up your pup in a well-fitting canine flotation jacket to help boost his swimming confidence and keep him safe in or around water. Amazon has a great selection of dog water vests, like those from Outward Hound.
Get Shore Smart
The beach on a really hot day just isn’t safe for dogs unless they’re guaranteed a shady spot and lots of really cold, fresh water (seawater or pool water spell GI upset for thirsty dogs). If your dog does splash around in the ocean, make sure to rinse him off well and also dry his ears completely to prevent infection.
Block the Rays
Even your dog needs SPF sun protection to avoid burns and skin cancer. Make sure to choose a pet-specific brand and apply it 30 minutes before going outside. This is especially important for short furred, fair skinned dogs who are most susceptible to sunburn.
See more tips from the ASPCA:
If you missed last week’s tip on the dangers of leaving your dog in a parked car, read it now.
Originally published June 2010; reviewed and updated June 2016.