Now that summer is here, you and your four-legged friend will most likely be spending more time outdoors.
However, warm weather presents a host of dangers for your pets, and it’s important to know how to care for your dog in the heat. Here are 10 tips that will help your canine stay in tip-top shape this summer.
1. Know how to perform a hydration test.
Quickly test if your dog is dehydrated by pulling the skin around their neck. It should snap back down if they are OK, but the skin will go down extremely slowly if your dog is dehydrated.
2. Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion.
If you're hot on a sweltering summer day, your dog is probably feeling the same, if not worse. Check your dog for warning signs of heat exhaustion: a bright pink tongue, pale gums, loud heaving or rapid panting. Also, disorientation, weakness, vomiting, and bloody stool are all signs that something is not right.
3. Learn how to bring your dog’s temperature down.
In a non-emergency situation, the best way to bring your dog's body temperature down is to put a wet, cold towel on the pads of their feet and chest.
4. Feel if the asphalt is too hot.
Always check to see if the ground is too hot for your dog to walk on by holding the back of your hand to the asphalt for at least five seconds. If you can’t hold it there for that long, avoid letting your dog walk on it. On a warm day, asphalt can get up to 135 degrees, and your pup can burn their paws in less than 60 seconds.
5. Check their paws.
Just like we mentioned above, it's easy for your pup to burn their paws on a hot day. If you notice them licking them or limping it could be because they have burned their pads. Check them for blisters, cracks, and redness, and if anything looks wrong, don’t hesitate to bring them to the vet. Paw burns, if left untreated, can quickly become infected.
6. Try to avoid hot sand.
We don't have to tell you that on a hot day, the sand can become blistering. If you're bringing Fido to the beach, get booties or carry him to your spot and put a towel down. You should also bring an umbrella so he can have constant shade.
7. Buy a life jacket.
While this probably goes against everything you know about pups (we're looking at you, dog paddle), this is an important one. Some dogs are scared of the water, are out of shape, or are just overenthusiastic. If they find themselves in the water, they can grow tired, anxious, or just lose their way back to shore. It's best to be safe (and have them look adorable) than sorry.
8. Make sure they don't drink from random water sources.
Don't ever let your dog drink seawater, chlorinated water, or standing water in streams. Their stomachs will not appreciate it later. Make sure you bring plenty of freshwater, and if you notice them drinking elsewhere, just bring them back to their own bowl and let them rest a bit.
9. Check for and ward off ticks.
Fleas, ticks, and other bugs can carry all kinds of diseases. Make sure to give your pup a vet-recommended medication to avoid bites. Even with preventative measures, though, it’s always good to check your dog (and yourself) for ticks after coming in from the outdoors.
10. Give them a cut, but don't fully shave them.
Your big fluffy friend may look like they need a shave, but your dog’s hair actually protects them from UV rays. Ask your local groomer for an undercoat rake instead, allowing for the dog to be protected, and still have less fur.
Now get out there with your pooch.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Flickr user Jennie Robinson Faber