You’re good about applying sunscreen and drinking plenty of water when it’s hot out, but did you know that your furbaby could get sunburned and heatstroke too? These hot and humid days are hard on us all, but there are some simple rules of thumb to follow to avoid injury or illness for your pet during the dog days of summer.
- Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening. Better yet, avoid exercise or walks on hot or humid days. It might feel strange not going on your daily walk and you might feel guilty for not getting your furbaby outside, but as the saying goes, “and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Dogs can get heatstroke in hot and humid weather, and that can be hard to recover from. Stay indoors on days when you wouldn’t go for a run yourself.
- Provide plenty of cool, clean water. Even inside in the air conditioning, furbabies need plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Get your pup a summer ‘do. If your dog has long, or shaggy hair/fur, this is the best time to cut it short.
- Never leave your furbaby unattended near water. Like humans, many pups love to cool off in water, but also like humans, they shouldn’t be left alone. If you have a pool or are close to a lake or beach – fantastic, get in, but make sure you enjoy it with your furbaby. Safety first!
- Avoid hot pavement. Would you walk on it without your flip flops? Then don’t allow your pup to!
- Prevent sunburn. It’s true, animals can get sunburned too. Melanoma is even a concern. When the sun is high, use a pet-safe sunscreen, or better yet, keep your baby in the shade or indoors.
- Never leave your furbaby in the car alone. In less than five minutes, even a warm car can become a sauna, and that can be deadly.
- Stay on top of flea and tick meds throughout the summer.
- Be smart about what cool treats you offer your pup. Diary is not often recommended, but some dogs can tolerate it. Should you offer your furbaby ice cream, avoid flavors that include raisin, chocolate (or any caffeine) and the ingredient Xylitol. Additionally, fruits such as grapes and citrus, while refreshing to humans, are not safe for dogs. When in doubt, pick up a cool dog treat from your local pet store or supermarket.
During these hot summer months, it’s important to be diligent. If you notice any differences in your pup’s behavior, such as excessive panting, lethargy, diarrhea, decreased appetite, call your vet. Following some simple safety steps, you can enjoy your summer with your pet and have many fun summer memories.