Fur is not the same as a summer coat. Well, not exactly, at least. It does protect dogs from the perils of warmer weather, but not completely. There are also steps that every dog owner should take to protect their beloved pets from the heat to ensure they don’t come down with heat exhaustion or experience undue pain and suffering during the summer months.
Begin by Keeping Them Indoors
It may seem obvious to most, but keeping your dog inside is safest during extremely warm weather. As K9 Kampus explains, dogs can suffer from heat stroke if they are left outside in very hot weather for too long without lots of water and shade. If you’re wondering how hot is simply too hot for your dog, take a look at the handy infographic provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Also, pay close attention to your dog to check for signs of discomfort.
When They Do Need Outdoor Exercise
Make sure to keep a close eye on your pup while he’s outside. Your yard should be pet-proofed, and you should make sure to store any hazardous chemicals in a safe spot. For instance, there are many fertilizers and bug killers that can prove especially harmful to dogs (or any animal) if consumed. As such, it’s best to keep a close watch on your pooch when he’s outdoors.
Acknowledge that some breeds have thicker fur than others and can tolerate less exposure to the warmth than their furrier counterparts. Dogs with thicker fur or those prone to exhaustion should be let outside for shorter periods of time, if at all. Elderly pets, especially, need to be careful when exposed to warmer temperatures due to an increased risk of heat stroke.
If you have a dog that’s prone to heat stroke, it’s important to keep a close watch for signs of exhaustion. For instance, bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and Boston terriers (among several others) tend to suffer the most in extreme heat. So, if the temperatures are starting to creep higher during the peak of the summer season, take special care of your pets to ensure they don’t overstay their welcome in the afternoon sun.
Grooming Dos and Don’ts
The Bark has a page dedicated to summer grooming dos and don’ts. All dog owners would be smart to pay attention. They point out that a long coat of fur can be a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that it provides extra warmth, but a curse if it is not properly maintained. Using a tool to remove loose hair can work wonders in keeping your pet cooler during the summer.
Visit the Vet and Get Your Dog Vaccinated
Before the summer heat sets in, take your dog for a checkup with your vet. This will not only allow them to check for preexisting health conditions, but your vet may also have some advice on how to prevent and cure ailments that may arise as a result of warmer weather.
Summer is a time of fun in the sun, but like humans, dogs shouldn’t be allowed to overdo it. Be a responsible owner, be proactive in getting them to the vet for checkups, and ensure the increased heat that comes with being outdoors during the summer is quickly remedied with plenty of water. Keep your dog indoors as much as possible when the temperatures start to skyrocket, but remember he still needs plenty of healthy exercise. However, as with all of us, the extremes of summer weather require that safety comes above all else, even if that means being a bit lazier on the hotter days of the season.