Summer Heat Safety Tips

Summer Heat Safety Tips

Written by Nicole McCray

As much as our pets love to have fun outdoors during the summertime, Dogs, like humans, are also susceptible to heat-related illnesses and discomfort. Drenched in sweat and exhausted from the heat, it's not fun—now imagine your dog wearing a fur coat! 

In light of this, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety of our dogs during the summer season. Heat strokes not only make dogs uncomfortable, but they can also lead to various health issues and diseases. 

As a pet owner, it's important to understand the typical body temperature of dogs, recognize the signs of overheating, know effective ways to keep your dog cool and comfortable, and be aware of the precautions and steps to take. 

In this article, we share essential summer safety tips from our friends at Bond Vet, to keep your dog healthy and happy during the warmer months. 


Keep Them Cool With Ample Hydration 

Water is crucial for keeping dogs hydrated, especially during hot weather. Unlike humans, their body's natural cooling system may not be as efficient as ours and they heavily depend on external factors to regulate their body temperature.

Ensure your dog has constant access to fresh, clean water and always bring portable water containers for hydration on walks or outdoor adventures. If you find your dog is getting too hot, a wet hand towel or an ice pack can be used on your dog’s head.

Another way to keep them cool is by adding water sprinklers around the house, putting up a fun waddle pool, or access to an air-conditioned environment.


Create Shade and Ventilation

Make sure your dog has access to shaded areas in your yard. If natural shade is limited, consider providing a canopy, umbrella, or constructing a doghouse with proper ventilation. 

Avoid leaving your dog in confined spaces or vehicles without proper airflow, as it can lead to heatstroke and suffocation. 


Limit Exercise During Peak Heat

Exercise is essential, but during the hottest parts of the day, it's best to limit intense physical activity. Opt for short walks, and schedule walks and playtime sessions during the cooler morning or evening hours to prevent overheating and paw pad burns from hot pavement. 


Understand Your Dog’s Heat Tolerance

Dogs vary in their ability to tolerate heat, and factors like breed, age, health, and coat type can affect their sensitivity to high temperatures. 

Heat can be particularly challenging for young puppies, older seniors, overweight pets, and dogs with pre-existing health conditions. These individuals may have difficulty tolerating high temperatures and are at a higher risk of heat-related issues, so take extra care to ensure their well-being during hot weather.

Dogs also do not realize that they are overheating while playing, so be sure to keep an eye on them!



Identify the Signs of Dog Overheating

Recognizing the following indicators of heat exhaustion and heatstroke is crucial for the well-being of your dog:

- Tiredness or lethargy
Excessive panting
Heavy drooling
Difficulty breathing
Rapid heart rate
Difficulty walking or lack of coordination
Vomiting or diarrhea
Bright red tongue

    If you suspect your dog is overheating, move them to a cooler area, ensure airflow by placing them in front of a fan, or help them cool down by running cool water over their body. Remember to use cool water, not cold, as cold water can restrict blood flow and impede the cooling process.

    If you are uncertain whether your dog is experiencing heatstroke, it is best to contact your veterinarian or bring them to the vet for an evaluation since heatstroke can be fatal.


    Protect Paws from Hot Surfaces

    Hot pavement or sand can cause painful burns on your dog's paw pads. Before heading out, check the ground temperature by placing your hand on it for a few seconds. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws. 

    Opt for walking your dog in grassy areas or invest in protective booties to shield their paws from the heat.


    Absolutely Never Leave Dogs in Cars

    It cannot be stressed enough: never leave your dog unattended in a car, even for a short period. The temperature inside a car can rise significantly within minutes even on moderately warm days, turning it into an oven, which can lead to heat stroke or death. 

    If you need to run errands, leave your dog at home in a cool and comfortable environment. And in case you run into a situation where you have to bring your pup in the car, here are some helpful tips to manage car stress in dogs to manage your dog’s travel anxiety.




    Consider Water Activities, With Caution

    Swimming can be a fantastic way to keep your dog cool during hot summer days, but ensure you follow these swimming safety tips:

    1. Bringing down their surface temperature too quickly though might lead to overheating of the internal organs, so when introducing your dog to water, do so gradually. Allow them to stand in cold water, starting with just their feet, for a period of time. 

    2. Never leave your pup unattended in water and use a life vest for buoyancy and added safety if your dog is not a strong swimmer.

    3. Limit your dog's consumption of salt water or chlorinated water. Too much salt water can lead to dehydration and gastrointestinal issues, while chlorinated water can irritate the stomach. Make sure to provide fresh water for them to drink and rinse their fur after swimming to remove any residual salt or chemicals.

    Groom Regularly

    Regular brushing helps remove excess fur, which allows air to circulate better and prevents matting. 

    Avoid shaving your dog's coat too short though, as it acts as insulation against both heat and sunburn. Consult a professional groomer for advice on appropriate grooming styles for your dog's breed.


    Keep Up To Date With Preventing Medication

    Watch out for sneaky little critters and creepy crawlies who love the warm weather by consulting with your veterinarian on the most suitable preventive medication for fleas, ticks, heartworm, and mosquitoes.


    Summer Tips for Dogs: Bond Vet

    Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer: