Summer is on its way and with it will come sunshine, time off work and school, and plenty of outdoor activities for you and your dog.
Keep them safe and happy during the dog days of summer with these tips!
Watch for Signs of Overheating
Despite what you may have heard, dogs do sweat, just not for the purpose of cooling. They sweat from the bottoms of their feet, providing traction while they walk. Panting is how they cool themselves, as it enables them to quickly evaporate water from their nose and mouth, cooling their body from the inside out. It’s similar to what happens when we humans get out of the shower: the water on our skin meets the air of the bathroom and starts evaporating, making our bodies feel cooler!
But, on a hot day, if you see your dog panting excessively, take notice. They may be experiencing heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. PetMD.com outlines the following signs of heatstroke to watch out for: excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness, uncoordinated movement, or collapse. As your dog’s person, you know them best. Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior and demeanor, noting anything that seems unusual or off. If your dog exhibits signs of overheating, bring them inside and contact your vet.
If you employ a dog walker during summer months, make sure they’re knowledgeable, too. If you’re in the Broomfield – Westminster, Colorado area, connect with us. Our pet sitters are CPR and First Aid certified.
Do a Skin Check on Your Dog
The heat can impact your dog’s skin, too, especially if they have skin folds. Your bulldog, pug, or overweight pup could be at risk for something called skin fold pyoderma. Akin to heat rash in humans, skin fold pyoderma is an infection that can cause rash, itchiness, and discomfort. It can usually be treated with a medicated shampoo. Ask your vet if you notice any issues with your dog’s skin.
Protect Your Pooch’s Paws
Asphalt and concrete and metal, oh my! On summer days, outdoor surfaces can be blazing hot. The darker the color of these surfaces, the more heat they absorb—but even light gray sidewalks can be hot enough to burn your dog’s paws. Prevent pain and damage to those precious paw pads by covering them up. Dog boots work well for most dogs, and, if not, try out some paw wax or pet-safe peel-and-stick paw pads.
If your dog isn’t a fan of foot coverings, try walking them in the grass or during early mornings and late evenings when temperatures are cooler. Keep an eye out for signs of paw pain, including blisters, redness or darker-than-usual coloring, limping or avoiding walks, and licking or chewing of the feet. If you witness any of these signs, apply cold water or a cold compress to your dog’s feet and call your vet right away.
Keep Heartworms Away
Summer may bring sunshine but it can also bring more mosquitos! And those mosquitos have the potential to infect your dog with heartworms, a serious and potentially fatal disease. While preventing heartworms is a year-round issue, it’s all the more important during summer. If your dog isn’t already on a regular heartworm preventive, now’s the time to get them started. Various methods are available to prevent heartworms in dogs, including topical medicine, chewable tablets, and injections. Call your vet today and ask which is right for your dog.
Make Hot Cars Off-Limits
Leaving your dog in the car is dangerous—even just for a minute, and even with the window cracked. It only takes a few moments for the temperature inside your car to rise to unsafe levels. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), your car’s temperature can rise by nearly 20º F in just 10 minutes, and cracking a window provides little, if any, relief. If you’re heading someplace where your dog can’t join you inside, leave them home and call us if you need a sitter!
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