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Tips for Caring for Your Dog During the Summer Months

June 02, 2017

Tips for Caring for Your Dog During the Summer Months

Photo of Clyde by his owner and avid outdoor enthusiast James Bleuer Moab, Utah

 

Summer is one of the best times of year for dogs. The longer hours of sunlight mean more opportunities to get outside and play, and the warm weather means it’s time to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping. In fact, most dogs enjoy getting out and enjoying some fun in the sun.

 But just like people, dogs can get heat stroke if they’re not properly cared for in hot weather. Summer also presents a number of other health hazards for your furry friend. Here are some things to watch out for to keep your dog safe in the summer.

  1. Heat stroke: As we mentioned, heat stroke can happen for dogs just like it can for humans, when their body temperature gets too high. Make sure that, when your dog is outside, they have plenty of access to shade. Never, ever lock your dog in an idle car for extended periods of time on hot days. Also, panting is your dog’s way of cooling himself — try to avoid muzzling on hot days as much as possible.
  1. Burned skin and foot pads: Dogs can get sunburned, too, so be sure to apply pet-safe sunscreen to their nose, ears, back, and other exposed skin areas. Also, watch out for those little foot pads — they can get easily burned on hot pavement, which can be quite painful for your dog. Avoid this by walking your pet during the coolest times of day, morning and night. If you need to walk them during the middle of the day, consider getting them protective booties. And be sure to test pavement yourself before walking your dog; if it is painful for you to touch, it will be painful for your dog.
  1. Dehydration: One of the worst things for dogs in the summer is not drinking enough water. Place multiple water bowls around the house and yard so that your pooch always has access to H2O. Be sure to place outdoor bowls in the shade, and check bowls often to see that the water is cool. Wet food is also a great way to increase your dog’s fluid consumption during the summer.
  1. Fires and fireworks: If you’re hosting a barbecue or going camping, there will be plenty of dangerous things lying around that your pet may mistake for “toys.” Keep them away from campfires, fireworks, or barbecues as much as possible. You don’t want your beloved pal to accidentally burn himself on a hot stick, or inadvertently spread around a campfire!
  1. Watch out for bugs: Summer brings out its fair share of creepy crawlies, that’s for sure. If you notice any fleas, ticks, or other parasites on your pet, be sure to bring them to the vet straight away. Also, ask your veterinarian about preventative care against potential parasites. There are plenty of options out there, such as collars, shampoos, sprays, and other topical products.
  1. Traveling dangers: It may be a great time to take your dogs on a hike with the family, but be sure to always keep an eye on them — especially when they are off leash. Collars with contact information are important, but they are not the most reliable way to retrieve a lost pet. Microchipping is an extremely valuable tool that’s available for the most reliable identification information, should you get separated from your dog.
  1. Frozen treats: Of course, your dog will still appreciate a healthy, all-natural dog treat every once in a while during the summer. Try freezing a few treats to give them on hot days — it will keep them busy for a while, and provide a much-needed cooling off period from the hot summer sun.