As Summer approaches and the days get warmer (its already heating up quite a bit here in San Diego), there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to your dog. Hot weather can be very detrimental and even fatal for dogs if proper precautions are not taken. Certain breeds need extra care during hot weather, such as snubbed nosed breeds like bulldogs and pugs. Older dogs and overweight dogs also need special attention and care during these hot days. Here are some tips that you can do to help keep your dog safe during the hot weather of the Summer months.
1. Always keep lots and lots of fresh water around. Make sure that your dog has a constant full bowl of water throughout the day and night. This is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind for your dog when it comes to hot weather. Dehydration can occur quickly during hot days which can be very dangerous for your dog. If possible, giving your dog fresh refrigerated water would be preferred. Some dogs seem to even stop drinking water because of the sudden change in weather. If your dog seems to be experiencing this, you may need to use a syringe to force them to take down water. Either way, keep your dog hydrated!
2. Provide plenty of shade! If you leave your dog outdoors, make absolutely sure that there is an area of shade available at all times of the day. Keep in mind that shady areas will shift throughout the day, so make sure there is a shady area for your dog to rest at all times of the day.
3. If you have a bulldog, pug, overweight, or elderly dog, I recommend bringing them inside the house and turning on your air conditioner. If you don’t have AC, then use an indoor fan. However, I would highly recommend against keeping these types of dogs outdoors during hot weather.
4. Shaving your dog’s hair during the hot Summer months can also help alleviate the heat. A ’Summer Cut’ for your dog can also be beneficial to dogs that are prone to skin irritations due to heat. I make sure to give all my dogs a Summer cut once the weather starts heating up. Imagine if you had to wear a sweater all day when its 90 degrees outside! Your dog probably wouldn’t like it either.
5. Restrict your dog’s playtime to either mornings or late afternoons when the weather is somewhat cooler. Also, never let them play right after eating during hot or humid weather.
6. If you live by the beach, I know it must be tempting to bring your dog for a day of fun in the sand and water. However, if the weather is scorching out, I would recommend against this unless you can provide some sort of shade and fresh water at all times. If you can set up a large umbrella or canopy, this may be a solution, but don’t risk it otherwise.
7. Next, this one is very obvious. Never ever leave your dog unattended inside your car. As intuitive as it may sound, many dogs die from heat exhaustion because negligent owners forget about their dogs inside their car. Either bring your dog with you where ever you go or leave them at home inside an air cooled house with water.
Hopefully these tips can ensure that you and your dog have a safe and fun Summer! As always, I am not a vet, so consult your local veterinarian before following any of these tips described above.