The summer months can be uncomfortable – even dangerous – for pets and people, but we can help you keep your pets cool this summer. You just have to follow these tips for helping your dog to stay healthy and comfortable when the heat is on.
- Take walks during the cooler hours of the day and adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature.
- Limit exercise on hot days and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, which are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, which typically have difficulty breathing.
- When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces like asphalt because it can burn your dog’s paws. Walk your dog on the grass if possible and always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
- Never leave your dog in the car; not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels.
- Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water and that it has access to shade when outside. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow.
- In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.
- Consider shaving dogs with long coats. However, talk to your veterinarian first to see if it’s appropriate for your pet since a dog’s coat provides a buffer to help him/her regulate his/her body temperature.
- Don’t rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans do and fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
- Don’t use ice if your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke. Instead, wet him/her down with room-temperature water and call your vet for treatment.