summer safety tips for dogs

Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Do you and your dog spend a lot of time outside in the summer?

If so, you should really take the time to read these summer safety tips for dogs.

Dogs love being outdoors but in the summer heat, there can be some safety concerns. It's very important to keep your dog cool and prevent them from getting heatstroke.

But first, let's look at what that means then we'll go over some of the summer safety tips.

If you prefer to watch a video instead of reading this post you can check out the IGTV video in my Dog Mom Tips Tuesday series.

summer tips for dogs

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What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a severe case of becoming overheated. It can lead to dehydration, seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and in some cases, death. 

 

What causes heatstroke?

Heatstroke is the result of your dog not being able to cool himself properly.

Dogs pant to cool themselves off, and this is only effective up until a certain point.

Being out in the sun too long, stuck in a car on a hot day, not enough drinking water, and too much exercise during hot days can all lead to heatstroke.

There are also some dogs that are at a higher risk of getting overheated. These dogs include:

  • Puppies

  • Elderly dogs

  • Brachycephalic dogs (flat faced dogs)

  • Overweight dogs

  • Dogs with heart or respiratory diseases

  • Dogs prone to seizures

  • Dogs with double coats, thick coats, and/or dark colored coats

 

What are the signs of heatstroke?

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing

  • Increased heart rate

  • Heavy drooling

  • Mild weakness

  • Lack of coordination

  • Dizziness

  • Collapse

  • Unusual color tongue and/or gums

More extreme signs:

  • Seizures

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Body temp over 104

 

What to do if you suspect your dog has heatstroke?

  • Move them into the shade or preferably an air-conditioned area.

  • Apply cold towels to their head, neck, chest, armpits, and paws or run cool (not cold) water over them. Cold water can actually cause their body to go into shock.

  • Let them drink small amounts of water. Drinking water too quickly can cause more problems. But don’t force them either. If your dog won’t drink, you can try having them lick an ice cube, but don’t let them eat it just lick it.

  • Take them to the vet ASAP even if you think they are improving.

summer safety tips for dogs

 

Summer Safety Tips for Dogs:

  • Make sure your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water available both inside and outside.

  • Keep in mind that if it's too hot outside for you then it's too hot for your dog. Remember, your dog is wearing a fur coat.

  • Limit your dog's exercise and go out early in the morning or later at night when the temperature is still low. And make sure to bring plenty of water for you both to drink.

  • Don't leave your dog outside for long periods of time.

  • Dog houses are not a way to shelter your dog from the heat, they are actually more of heat boxes, trapping all of the heat inside.

  • Pay attention to not only how hot it is outside but also the humidity. Dogs can't cool themselves off properly when it's humid out.

  • Don't ever, ever, ever leave your dog in the car.

    Even if it’s only 70 degrees outside, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter.

    On an 85 degree day, it only takes 10 min for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees.

    Even if you crack the windows, there still isn't enough airflow to keep your dog cool enough in the car. And parking in the shade doesn't help much either, especially because when the sun moves then so does the shade.

  •  Always check the temperature of sidewalks and driveways with the back of your hand before allowing your dog to walk on them. The back of your hand is more sensitive so it will be more similar to what your dog will feel with their paws.

    Dogs' paws can actually burn just from walking on hot cement and sand.

    To prevent any burns, you can buy your dog little booties to protect their paws or simply just walk in the grass only.

  • You should be using dog sunscreen. Especially if your dog has a light coat and/or a short coat. All dogs can use sunscreen on the parts of their body where fur is shorter, such as their nose.

  • Keep dogs away from insecticides, citronella candles, tiki torches, etc.

    If you think your dog ingested something poisonous, call your vet or the ASPCA animal poison control center. (888) 426-4435

  • After walking your dog you should rinse their paws to rinse away any chemicals sprayed on lawns. Using only water doesn’t do much but it’s better than nothing. It's best to use chemical-free paw wipes or you can make your own.

  • Never use fireworks around your dog or take them to firework shows. They should be left at home, even if you think your dog doesn’t mind the sound.

    More dogs go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.

  • Most items found at a cookout are harmful to dogs, things like alcohol, cooked bones, BBQ sauce, onions, chocolates, grapes, etc.

  • Standing water can actually be full of harmful bacteria, so don’t let your dog drink from standing water such as puddles.

  • Never leave your dog alone near water, you never know what could happen.

  • If your dog goes swimming in pools make sure to rinse them off immediately after to rinse away the chlorine.

  • While it is rare, a dog can get a condition known as water toxemia. This is when a dog ingests too much water. Most commonly happens when a dog is fetching a ball in the water.

    These symptoms are similar to heat stroke but include bloating.

keep dog cool in summer with swimming

 

How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Summer

  • Turn on the A/C in your home and if you don't have A/C then at least turn on some fans and open up the windows to let the breeze in and get the air circulating.

    Fans don't actually cool dogs off the same way they do for us humans, but getting the air circulating will be better than nothing. Your dog deserves to have a comfortable space to live in.

  • Buy a cooling mat for your dog to lay on. You could put it in the kennel or where ever your dog likes to lay.

    There are also cooling vests and bandanas you can buy for your dog too.

  • If your dog likes to play in the water that is a great way to exercise your dog during the summer.

    You could get a kiddie pool or a sprinkler for your dog to play in in your backyard. Or you can take them to a lake, beach, or dog park with water access.

  • When playing outside you can wet your dog's paws, neck, chest, and forearms to help cool them off

    You can also get a bandana soaking wet and tie that onto your dog for temporary relief.

  • Brushing your dog can help to keep them cool by getting rid of any loose or matted fur.

    Your dog's fur is actually meant to help keep them cool by circulating air through the fur, so when you get rid of any loose or matted fur you help your dog be able to keep themselves cool.

  • DO NOT shave your dog unless your dog has hair instead of fur.

    Dog hair continues to grow, whereas dog fur stays the same length.

    Dogs like Shih Tzus have hair that continues to grow and requires maintenance such as shaving.

    But if you shave a dog with fur, especially a dog with double coats such as a Husky, you are actually damaging their fur and putting them more at risk of sunburn and overheating.

    Of course, there are times where it's necessary to shave fur such as a medical procedure.

  • Your dog sweats through their feet so trimming your dog's paw fur can help to keep them cool.

  • Let your dog dig. Dogs will actually dig to cool off in the cold dirt beneath top layer.

  • You can give your dog summer fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe to help hydrate them.

    Only feed these fruits in moderation as they are high in sugar and high in water which can lead to diarrhea.

  • You can make dog ice cream as a fun snack to cool them off.

  • While you can give your dog ice cubes to keep them cool while inside, do not give them ice cubes when they are overheated.

    Giving your dog ice cubes while they are overheated can cause their body to go into shock.

 

If you found this article helpful, please share it so we can help as many dog moms as possible give their dogs the best life.

Related: Safe and Toxic Food for Dogs