There’s no better time of year than summertime. If you’re hitting the beach or kicking it close to home, Wild One has the holy grail of guides to summering well, and staying safe, pup included.
Protect your pup from:
Heatstroke is caused by overexposure to a hot or humid environment. Our older, flat-faced, fluffy furred, and overweight dog friends are at higher risk of experiencing heatstroke so take extra precautions on your summer adventures.
Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, excessive drinking of water, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, uncoordinated movement/collapse, and loss of consciousness.
What to do if you believe your dog is having a heatstroke? First, try to get their core body temperature down. This can be done by using a cold wet rag on their body and placing them in front of a fan. Unlike humans, dogs don’t cool their body temperature by ingesting cold or freezing food or water. This actually can raise their core temperature higher.
Then, call your vet. They will help you look for signs of shock and let you know if further action needs to be taken.
Avoid heatstroke by limiting outdoor activity during hot days, never leave your dog in a parked car, and always bring water enjoying the summer sun.
Yep, dogs get sunburned too! If your pup has a pink nose, pink skin, or thin fur s/he is more likely to get burned when out enjoying the sun. Prevent and treat sunburn in your dog the same way you’d do so for yourself. Use pet friendly sunscreen and always provide shade when outside for extended periods of sun exposure. And speaking of sun, hot asphalt can cause severe burns to your pup's paw-pads. Avoid walking them on hot surfaces this summer, and use paw wax to help protect this sensitive area.
Parasites and mosquitos
Summer months create warm-weather breeding grounds for parasites. Ticks, mosquitoes, and parasites can carry diseases that affect humans as well as our furry friends. Use vet recommended monthly-preventatives to keep your pup healthy all summer and all year long. Check them for ticks, keep them away from standing water like puddles, and monitor their bathroom-schedules for any sign of infection.
Too much of a good thing is always a bad thing. And, the same goes for water. Water toxemia, or water intoxication is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain functions that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is limited by excessive water intake. Always closely monitor your dog if s/he loves to swim or ‘bite-drink’ the water. Symptoms of water intoxication include staggering/loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death. Contact your vet immediately if you believe your dog is suffering from water toxemia. Treatments include IV delivery of electrolytes, diuretics, and drugs to reduce brain swelling.
To prevent water toxemia make sure to give your water-bound dog many breaks between play.
Want more content like this delivered right to your inbox each week? Sign-up for In The Wild - A Newsletter for Pets and Their People.
Want to share your own In The Wild stories? Drop them here to be featured.