Summer Safety Dog Tips
NEVER leave your dog in a car during the summer. It can take MINUTES for a dog to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. Most people don't realize how hot it gets in parked cars. on a 78 degree day, for example, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your dog at home. Also, if you are driving around with your dog, bring water and a water dish and take your pet with you when you leave the car.
Heavy-coated breeds may appear to suffer more in hot weather because of the massive amounts of coat. However, this is not the case. The coat on a dog acts as insulation from both hot and cold air temperatures. The coat traps the air close to the body, which is the same temperature as their body. Most people think that by shaving off the coat they are doing the dog a favor, but by shaving a dog down to the skin, you not only increase the risk of heatstroke but also of sunburn.
Believe it or not, dogs can get sunburned, especially those with short or light colored coats. Just like with people, sunburn can be painful for a dog and overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Talk to your Veterinarian about sunscreens for your dog (Do NOT assume a sunscreen for people is safe for your dog).
Overheating is very serious so it's important to be aware of the symptoms. Symptoms include panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapsing. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature over 104 degrees.
Your dog should always have access to drinking water! Our dogs get much thirstier then we do when they get hot, and other than panting and drinking, they really have no way to cool themselves down.
POOLS / SWIMMING
For the summer months think about getting your dog their very own kiddy pool! Dogs who love water, naturally love it even more during the hot months, and getting wet keeps them cool. Providing a small, kid-sized pool will go over big. Large pools and lakes are also great for keeping your dog cool, although supervision is needed! Just because dogs instinctively know how to swim, doesn't mean they're good swimmers. Also if your dog jumps in a pool, he might not be able to get out without help and could easily drown. Make sure your dog can't get into deep water without you around!
Keep your dogs paws in mind! when the sun is out, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot. Try to keep them off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. Also, it's not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck when it's hot out - the hot metal can burn quickly (and have the possibility of falling out and get injured or killed in an accident).
Overall it's most important to pay attention to your dog - you'll know when they seem uncomfortable or like they might be in some trouble. Summer can be a great time to spend with your furry friends, but it's important to keep these tips in mind as the days grow longer!