When long summer days approach, people and their pets may look forward to sharing quality time outside. Although summer boasts fun activities for humans and their canine companions, pets can suffer from the same summer woes that plague their owners. Preparing for summer weather by providing cool water, shade and limiting mid-day activities can help keep dogs healthy and happy all season long.
Water and Shade
When temperatures soar, dogs require plenty of cool water. Because their tongues and noses are essential to their cooling capabilities, dogs will often pant with their tongues hanging out during the hottest hours of the day. Keeping the dog's water bowl in the shade will ensure that it is cool enough to drink, according to Tamar Geller for Today. Dogs with flat noses, such as pugs, have difficulty panting and may need to be kept indoors, as should elderly or overweight dogs. Shade is another important factor to keep pets cool during summer months. Shade keeps dogs out of the sun's direct rays and can prevent sunstroke and sun burn. Responsible pet owners will supervise their pets when they are enjoying their time outdoors.
Best Activity Times
Active pet owners may enjoy long walks with their furry friends, but the American Kennel Club recommends saving walks for early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the extreme heat of summer. Dogs can overheat easily during the hottest hours of the day. The pads of their feet can be burned by hot asphalt, which can increase their body temperature. Dog owners can choose to walk their pets on the grass, and should check their pet's feet frequently for heat damage.
The ASPCA recommends regular grooming during the summer months, but shaving a dog's coat is detrimental to the dog's internal cooling system. Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, states that a dog's coat helps insulate him from the sun's heat, and keeps him from getting a sun burn. This in turn protects the dog from skin cancer. Long hair that hangs down on the dog's legs can be trimmed to maintain a tidy appearance.
Sponge Baths, Pools and Fans
Summer time is a great time for the pool, and dogs may enjoy a dip just as much as their human companions. Dogs should always be supervised when in a pool, according to the American Kennel Club, and should be taught where the steps and ladder are for an easy exit. For dogs who prefer keeping their feet on dry land, a quick sponge bath can be a refreshing way to cool down. Still other dogs may enjoy lounging in a backyard wading pool when temperatures soar.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Hot Weather Tips
- ASPCA: Heat Wave! Should You Shave Your Pet?
- American Kennel Club: Summer Safety Tips
- Pet MD: Summer Safety Tips
- Association of Professional Dog Trainers: Dog Safety Tips for Summer
- Today: Keep Your Pet Cool During Dog Days of Summer