We all know it, summer is HOT! Whether you’re a first time dog owner or a seasoned dog parent, we all need to practice responsible dog ownership. Here’s some good tips and reminders on how to keep your dog cool this summer.
Over 18 degrees out, don’t leave your dog in the car
BCSPCA recommends if it’s 18 degrees or over, leave your dog at home. It might not seem that hot to you but even running a quick errand can turn disastrous inside of a mere 15 minutes. And cracking a window isn’t the answer either. Your car still acts like an oven. So if you must bring them, make sure you’re either visiting a pet friendly business or you bring a friend that can stay with your dog while you run your errand.
Avoid exercise in the heat
Dogs don’t sweat, they pant. On a hot summers day they can’t pant fast enough to cool down. So if you take your dog outside for some exercise, do so either first thing in the morning, later in the evening when it’s cooler outside or take them to a park where there’s lots of shade trees or water so they can cool down.
Test the pavement
Pavement can get extremely hot, and so can those metal man-hole covers. So try this. Put the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds. If its too hot for you its too hot for them! And watch out for those metal grates in the ground. Even if the pavement isn’t too hot for a walk that metal might be. Avoid letting your dog step on them.
Don’t shave your dog
Mother Nature is brilliant! She actually designed your furry canines coat to work two ways. It keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Their undercoat lets their skin breath while their top coat acts like an umbrella shading them from the sun. And their skin is actually 4 TIMES thinner then ours. Not only will shaving your dog destroy their built in protection, it’ll expose their sensitive skin resulting in a sunburn. So don’t shave them!
Provide fresh drinking water
Obviously you want to make sure your dog has access to clean drinking water in the heat. Having said that, water alone can’t cool your dog down. It mainly just helps to hydrate them. So again, keep them out of direct heat.
I added this because I wanted to emphasize the word ‘fresh‘. In the heat of summer there’s often little to no air movement or breeze. If your dog is outside and the air’s stale and just plain hot, they could get extremely uncomfortable in a hurry. Or worse, they could develop heat stroke. Even a shade tree might not help in the extreme heat.
Did you know there is actually sunscreen for dogs? Well, there is. Although this might help protect against sunburns, especially if you put it on their noses and other places they don’t have much protection, I wouldn’t rely on it past that. Slapping a cream on then exposing your dog to the elements is a bad idea. Sure, they might not burn, but it won’t help cool them down. So absolutely, get the sunscreen to help protect their skin but don’t become negligent with the rest of the heat’s hazards.
Signs of heat stroke
Google has a great list if you search ‘signs of sunstroke in dogs‘. But some of the key things to look out for are if your dog starts acting strange, seems woozy, dizzy or weak, vomits, they don’t want to get up, or excessive panting. In other words, if your dog seems distressed in any way, ACT IMMEDIATELY!
Here’s a great video of Dr Ernie Ward, the veterinarian who locked himself in a car on a hot summers day to show just how hot can get. It’s a MUST WATCH!
Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Dog Trainer and Natural Nutrition.
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