How to Keep Your Dog Cool During the Summer
Summer heat could be pretty stressful for dogs. They can’t sweat the ways humans do, which makes high temperatures a real danger. When the body temperature becomes too high, there’s even a chance of heat stroke. That’s why dog owners need to plan ahead and find ways to make this time of the year easier for their pets.
This is true for all dogs, but those with short muzzles are the most susceptible to heat strokes.
Notice the symptoms
Keep an eye on your dog more during summer and take notice of the symptoms if they appear. There’s a difference between the symptoms of dehydration and heat stroke. With the former you need to give your dog more water and keep it inside, the latter would require a visit to the vet. If your dog seems lethargic, has sunken eyes or dry mouth – it’s dehydration. Rapid breathing, muscle tremors, staggering and excess salivation, however, are more severe symptoms and they indicate a heat stroke. When you notice them, try measuring the dog’s temperature – it should be below 105 degrees F.
Make sure your dog always has enough water. If the bowl is emptied much faster than usual (which will probably be the case), provide a few bowls or buy one with a water dispenser which refills on its own. You could also make this yourself by using a large bottle and a wide bowl. Also, keep the bowls away from the sun. If you can, take the dog swimming or at least spray them with the garden hose during the hottest time of the day. Giving the dog a block of ice to lick is also a possibility but don’t go overboard with it because sudden changes in temperature can also be a problem.
Take the dog for a walk early in the morning or late in the evening. If the day is especially hot or humid, you can skip the walk altogether. Choose places with a lot of trees and shades or possibly something near water. Don’t let the dog off its leash regardless of their protest. That way, you can control where and how fast they are running. Avoid walking on pavement altogether because it can really hurt the dog’s feet. Check the temperature of the pavement by keeping your hand on it for 15 seconds. If you can’t do it, it isn’t safe for the dog either.
During the summer, dogs should have plenty of natural pet food. The meals should be a bit smaller than usual, but more frequent. Don’t overfill the bowl; leave smaller portions throughout the day. It’s okay if the dog eats a bit less when it’s hot. Empty out the bowl if there’s still food in it and bring the usual amount next time. You should also rely more on frozen treats because they are both nourishing and refreshing.
It might be good to do some extra grooming before the summer. Don’t shave the dog completely because that exposes the skin to sunburn, but a bit more of a trim than usual could make everyone’s lives a bit easier. This should be done before the heat become too unbearable so the dog can adjust gradually. Have in mind that during the summer your dog’s fur grows slower anyway so it might take quite a bit until it is back to its usual fluffiness. This is especially important if there are sudden weather changes in your area because you don’t want the fall to surprise you either.
Take special care of your dog during the summer because heat could be pretty dangerous. Take all the precautions and call a vet when necessary.
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