Summer is one of our favorite times of year; the kids are out of school, the weather allows for outdoor fun, and we get a little tan in the process! It’s also a time to be hyperaware of our pets since they can’t exactly grab themselves an ice water out of the fridge or run themselves a cold shower. Here are a few quick tips to keep your pet happy and healthy in the heat:
• Water, Water, Water. If your pet already has two bowls for water, add one more, just to be sure. Also make sure to check their water daily, as it can get pretty funky and deter pets from wanting to drink. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, consider a bowl that hooks up to the hose or has a freezer insert to keep the water cold throughout the day.
• Watch the ground. We know your intentions are good when you come home from work and immediately take Fido on his walk, but if the sun’s still beating on the asphalt it can really harm his paw pads. Before you take out the leash, hold the palm of your hand on the ground for 7 seconds; if you can’t, the ground is too hot for a stroll. Our advice? Limit exercise to the early morning or evenings after the sun’s gone down and it’s still light out.
• Provide shade. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, be sure there’s a tree, tarp, or other shade structure that will provide Fido a break from the sun without blocking airflow. Doghouses aren’t ideal for summer shade due to their lack of ventilation, but providing a cool spot somewhere in the backyard will be throwing your dog a major bone.
• Consider a baby pool. You know the relatively cheap plastic ones you simply fill with hose water – well, dogs love them and it’s a sure-fire way to give him access to something that will cool him down.
• Know the signs of overheating. Excessive panting, increased heart rate, drooling, mild weakness, or even collapsing are all signs of heat exhaustion and can lead to much bigger issues. Dogs with flat faces, like Pugs and Bulldogs, as well as older dogs, are especially susceptible to overheating and should be monitored when outside in warm weather. Discuss the subject with your veterinarian beforehand so you’ll be prepared. If you have any concerns, see your veterinarian immediately.