Summertime is a favorite time of year for many dogs and dog owners; with more time for walks, fetching the ball, and car rides with the windows down, summer provides the perfect opportunity to spend more quality time with your pup. However, the heat and humidity can cause health issues for dogs if they are not taken care of properly. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your pup happy and healthy during the summertime.
• Ensure you have cold water available to your dog. At home, keep a bowl available to your dog and make sure to refill it with fresh and cool water when you leave the house. Bring along a portable water bottle and bowl or a squirt bottle when you and your dog leave the house and ensure your dog has small amounts of water every 15 minutes during activity.
• Avoid the midday heat. Instead of exercising your dog in the middle of the day when it’s hot and humid, go earlier in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler out. You can also take your dog for walks on shady trails, where they won’t be walking on hot asphalt and are more likely to stay cooler.
• Test the asphalt before walking your dog. The asphalt, even on days that don’t feel especially warm, can get hot in direct sunlight. To test if it is okay for your dog’s paw, put your hand to the pavement to test the temperature. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog. Another way to test is to pour water on the asphalt; if it immediately steams up, it is too hot for your dog.
• Groom your pet properly. If your dog has long hair, make sure you are staying on top of proper grooming by getting rid of any mats and tangles in its fur. Simply brushing out your dog’s hair will help keep your dog cool. Talk to a groomer before shaving or clipping his coat, as it might be actually effective in keeping him cool.
• Do not leave your dog in the car. Even with the windows cracked on a mild day, the temperature can soar inside of a car, even within a few minutes. Instead of leaving your dog in the car, leave him in a cool house or go to places where he can come with you.
• Make sure vaccinations are up to date. Dogs tend to stay outdoors longer in the summertime, and therefore come into contact with other animals more during the summer months. Make sure you keep up with prevention medications, especially for ticks, mosquitoes, and ringworm, which become more likely in the summertime. For more information on prevention, please refer to our “Prevention is the Best Protection” article.
It is important to trust your gut when it comes to keeping your dog healthy and happy in the summer, but it is important to err on the side of caution in the hotter summer months. Choosing activities like playing with the hose or sprinkler instead of going on a walk in the middle of the day provides your dog an opportunity to play and exercise while simultaneously cooling off. Making accommodations to keep your dog cool and happy in the midst of all this heat guarantees a healthy and happy pup!