As the temperatures are soaring high for many pet owners this is the best time for picnic, walks and hikes. Keep in mind that warm weather can be dangerous. It’s hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and animals don’t sweat like people do. As you probably know, dogs more commonly cool themselves down through panting. When there is only hot air for a dog to breathe, it’s a lot harder for that dog to keep cool.
Here are some tips to keep your dog cool in summer.
Check the temperature before going out- It’s always a good idea to check the floor temperature before stepping out. It’s too hot for your dog's paw pads. Walk on the grass and stay off the asphalt. You also might want to try booties for your dog so their paws don’t burn.
Never leave your dog in the car- Not even for 15 minutes! It can take minutes for a dog to have a heatstroke. A closed car warms up much faster and lack of oxygen can be fatal to your dog. Always leave your dog at home, if you are going to a non-pet friendly place.
Offer plenty of shade and water- We all know it but sometimes we need to be reminded that dogs feel a lot hotter than what we do. Other than panting and drinking, dogs have no other mechanism to cool off. Always keep your dog hydrated and avoid direct exposure to sun. Dogs can’t regulate heat as well as us, so it’s not as easy for them to stay cool. It is always a good idea to avoid keeping your dog inside during peak summers.
Beware of heatstroke and sunburn in Dog- Some dog breeds have a short face is more susceptible to heat strokes. Bull dogs and pugs don’t have a good a panting mechanism in their body. They are intolerant to high temperatures. All dogs have scanty fur on their belly and are susceptible to sun burns. Light fur dogs are more likely to get to sunburn. Ask your vet for a medicated sunscreen and never use your own sunscreen on your dog. The harmful chemicals can cause severe skin allergies to dogs.
Use a Kiddie Pool or Sprinkler to Keep Cool- Dogs love water in summers. You can let the dog play with the sprinkler in the garden or fill up a kiddie pool but it is very important to dry out the dog after their play time. Wet fur can let the insects and mites find their home in under your dog’s skin.
Do Not Exert your dog- Keep your dog’s walk timings in early mornings or late evenings after sun sets. Walk at a slower pace and keep offering water to your furry friend.
Make cool treats-Ice popsicles make great summer treats. Freeze your dog’s favourite chew toy or make an ice Popsicle with a treat inside it to keep your dog, busy and cool in summers. Chilled Buttermilk is a great treat for dogs in summers. Frozen fruits, coconut water and electrolytes can be helpful in keeping your dog cool in summers
Groom your pet-get rid of any mats and tangles. It will help keep them cool. Don't shave or clip their coat before you talk to your vet or groomer. The extra fur that keeps them warm in winter may also keep them cool in summer. Even for furry breeds like Labradors and retrievers, the fur coat needs to be maintained during summers. Fur is actually providing relief from heat. Remember dogs don’t have sweat pores like humans.
Watch out for signs of Dehydration- If your dog’s breathing laboured or they are panting excessively, drooling, vomiting or have blood shot eyes then you need to immediately seek vet’s help. Dogs have only panting as their cooling mechanism. Increased heart rate, restlessness, tenting on the skin is some of the signs to watch out for.
Not all dogs are swimmers- Yes! That’s true, while swimming is a natural instinct in dogs but some dogs are not natural swimmers, do not leave your dog around the pool unsupervised, always have a floating boat or toy around when introducing swimming to dogs for the first time