By Shreya Tragad
Summertime means hot sunny days, beaches, hikes, and lots of other fun outdoor activities! Summer is a great time to bond with your pets, but we must also be cautious of how higher temperatures can affect our little ones, such as heat strokes, skin infections, breathing issues, etc.
Pets do not sweat the same way as us humans do, which can cause them to become overheated. But don’t worry, we will provide you with some summer care tips for your puppy to keep them safe.
- Provide your Pet with Lots of Water and Shade
Dogs tend to get thirstier during the summertime compared to us, and dehydration can come with symptoms such as dry gums, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, etc. Make sure your pet always has access to a lot of water and always keep water with you during your walks. Carrying a fanny pack would be beneficial to carry all essential items for your walk.
Gentle Paw’s Expedition Fanny Pack offers lots of storage for you to place your items in during your explorations! It also allows you to keep your hands free as you can hook the leash on to your fanny pack, focusing on your furry friend more rather than all the items you have to carry as your hands are occupied.
It will be best to keep your puppy in the shade as much as possible as direct sunlight can overheat them leading to a heat stroke.
- Do Not Leave Your Pet in the Car
Pets love car rides, and you may think that if you leave them alone for a couple of minutes won’t be a big deal, but it actually takes less than 10 minutes for your pet to get a heat stroke inside a hot vehicle as the car can heat up to 100°F.
If you see a pet alone in somebody’s car, you should try and take action immediately such as finding the owners, or even calling the police, as it can lead to serious consequences for the little one.
- Avoid Excess Exercise on Hot Sunny Days
Regular exercise or some form of routine physical activity is essential for your puppy to maintain good overall health. Many dog owners take advantage of warm sunny days to give their puppies outdoor playtime.
Avoid too much exercise on extremely hot days and it will be best to keep the walking sessions short. You may be wondering how often you should go, this will be determined by the size, age, and breed of your dog, but of course daily exercise is recommended. Try to take your puppy out during cooler parts of the day such as early mornings and evenings. It will be best to walk in areas with lots of shade or near the water.
- Do Not Let Your Pet Drink Water from Oceans, Lakes, or Pools
Make sure your dog does not drink seawater as excessive salt can lead to dehydration and vomiting. The salt from the water can go from their bloodstreams to their intestines, which can be fatal. Make sure you always carry fresh water with you if your dog does get thirsty.
- Make Sure Your Dog is Protected from Ticks, Fleas, and Mosquitoes
Unfortunately, beautiful hot summer days also come with ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and other parasites. They carry tapeworms, heartworms, and harmful diseases such as Lyme which can put your puppy at risk. Your vet can provide you with some medical prescriptions to keep your puppy safe and healthy.
- Apply Sunscreen to Avoid Sunburns
Pets also get sunburns just like us, especially if they have a lighter coat of fur. Too much sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer the way it can with us. It would be a good idea to apply sunscreen every 3 to 4 hours, especially in areas where there is the least amount of fur, such as their bellies and ears. Your vet can recommend the best sunscreen suitable for your pet.
- Make Sure Your Dog is Wearing Identification
During the summer, the majority of the days are spent outdoors with our dogs, which increases the chance of them running off and getting lost; this may be critical on days with extreme heat. It is important to have a dog collar, as it is one of the essentials you need before getting a dog, with all your information on it along with your phone number to reunite with your puppy as soon as possible.
Gentle Paw offers a service called “Pawzz”, where you can get a free dog tag to reunite with your pet if they get lost.
- Do Not Shave your Pet
You may think that shaving some fur off your pet will cool them down on hot days. Pet’s coats are designed to keep them cool during the summer and warm during winter as it protects their delicate skin. You may trim some of the furs on your puppy but make sure you never fully shave, leave at least an inch of hair to protect their skin from getting sunburns.
- Keep your Dog’s Paws Cool
Your pet can either heat up or cool down starting from their paws, it is important to keep their paws off hot surfaces such as cement and asphalt as it can burn their paws leading to overheating/heat stroke.
Avoid putting driving around with your dog at the back of your truck as the hot metal can burn their paws very quickly. If you are trying to cool your puppy down quicker, spray them tummies and paws with cool water first rather than their topcoat. Doggy boots would be a great idea to have to protect their paws.
- Watch Out for Signs
Normal temperature for a dog is between 100°F and 103°F. If the temperature is higher than that, it means that they are overheated which can be serious. Puppies need plenty of water to cool themselves down since they do not sweat the way humans do. Symptoms of overheating can vary from: dry/bright red gums, thick drools, wobbly legs, diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive panting.
If your puppy is showing signs, make sure you move them to a cool shady place as soon as possible and provide them plenty of water. You can also apply a damp towel over them and take them to your vet as soon as possible. Do not directly place them in chilly cold water as it can put them into shock.
We hope these tips provided you with some great information on how to keep your puppy safe and healthy during the summertime! Our pets provide us with all the love and support we need, and as their pawrents, it is our responsibility to ensure the health of our furry companion.
Stay safe, but also make sure to have fun this summer!
Here is a brief temperature guide of what may start to become risky for your dog depending on their breed, health conditions, whether your walking destinations has shade, etc., to avoid heat strokes.