Get Pet Insurance for your Cat & Dog
Terms and conditions apply*
How to Care for Your Dog During Summer?
Summer represents a breath of fresh air, with sunshine and colours. However, as a pet owner, your responsibilities do not stop here. Instead, it would help if you were more cautious of your dog's health and ensure its well-being in the scorching heat. Here, you need to be aware of the effects of hot weather on your dog's health and take proper measures to avoid these.
Do you need to learn how to take care of dogs in the summer? Read till the end of this article for some of the best tips.
Tips for Taking Care of Dog During Summer
Pet owners often get confused about taking the right measures for taking care of dogs during summertime. It can be quite complex, considering the intensity of the heat during summer. It would help if you were cautious while caring for your dog in the summertime. Here are the tips that you can consider for dog care in the summer.
1. Provide Plenty of Water
One of the biggest problems with summer is a lack of hydration. Dehydration is a common problem among dogs, which can escalate to serious health issues. Dogs usually feel thirstier during summer. If they do not drink sufficient water, they will be dehydrated, with issues like dry gums and excessive drooling.
Ensure your dog has access to clean and fresh water throughout the day to avoid this issue. Also, carry a bottle of water when taking your dog for a walk. Encourage him/her to drink water regularly. You can also switch to wet dog food during this time.
2. Keep Your Dog Under Shades
Excessive sun and heat can severely damage the health of your dog. Direct sunlight can negatively affect a dog's health, sometimes causing heat stroke. Therefore, it is essential to keep them under shade.
Trees are the best natural shades. Hence, if you have a dog house outside, make sure to keep it under the trees. Moreover, you can create a temporary shade in your backyard if the dog plays there during the day. This way, you can protect your dog against sun rays.
3. Check the Temperature
It is essential to maintain the temperature within the house. If you have an open house, where sunlight quickly enters, the temperature can increase rapidly around noon. An ideal temperature for dogs is up to 100°F (38°C). If the temperature is higher, your dog is prone to falling sick.
Thus, make sure to adjust the room temperature so that it is not too hot for your dogs. Keep them in cooler places, or use air conditioners to reduce the temperature if it increases rapidly. Otherwise, they might fall sick.
4. Watch for Signs of Overheating
A great way to ensure summer care for dogs is to look for signs and symptoms of overheating. Dogs start showing various symptoms as they suffer from extreme heat and sun. These include heavy panting, dry or red gums, thick drools and vomiting. Moreover, dogs also suffer from wobbly legs and diarrhoea during this time.
If you notice such signs in your dog, the current environment negatively affects their health. Immediately move them from any contact with the sun. Bring them to a cooler environment, and encourage them to drink fresh water. You can also give them a cold bath. If the situation worsens, bring them to the vet.
5. Apply Sunscreen
Just like their owners, dogs are also prone to getting sunburns. Those with short or light hair coats are more prone to getting these. These burns are usually painful and can lead to complicated health conditions like skin cancer. Hence, do not take this risk when taking them out on a bright sunny day.
You can easily find sunscreens that are made specifically for pets. Purchase these and carry them when you go out during summer. Apply the sunscreen every 3-4 hours a day, focusing especially around the dog's ears, nose and belly. However, ensure that the product is not within reach of their tongues, as licking the sunscreen can be toxic.
6. Avoid Shaving Their Fur
People often believe shaving their dog's fur will be more comfortable during summer. However, this is a misconception. When exposed to UV rays, the thick coat of fur protects your dog's body, keeping them cool and more comfortable while playing outside during summer.
If you feel the dog's fur is bothering him/her, consider trimming them to some extent. Leave at least an inch of hair on the dog's body to ensure sun protection. Despite that, check for sunburns on your dog’s body regularly.
7. Groom the Fur
As dogs tend to play outside more often during summer, they get dirty and messy. Grooming them often is essential, and dogs should have more frequent and regular baths. Moreover, you should take them regularly for haircutting and trimming. Moreover, you should also consider nail trims or paw trims during this time.
You need good soaps and body wash to rinse away the dirt and toxins that are likely to accumulate under your dog's skin. This is more frequent, as dogs might play in the mud or around dust. Make sure to remove the toxins and keep the fur clean to ensure the health condition of your dog.
8. Take Care of the Paws
Paw care is also essential in the summertime. Pets usually heat up from the bottom while walking on a hot surface. The outdoor surface often contains messy weeds, twigs, foxtails, etc. These can quickly enter the dog's nails, affecting their health. It is, therefore, essential to trim the nails before going out.
You can also find doggy boots in the market, which will protect the paws from a hot surface. Apart from that, you can simply avoid bringing them out during an extremely hot day or carry them instead of walking on a hot surface. After coming home, rub the paws in a wet towel or apply coconut oil to avoid burns.
9. Stay away from Parasites
Parasites like fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes are also common during summertime. These usually come with tapeworms and heartworms, spreading diseases like Lyme or Bartonella. Your dog can easily fall victim to these while roaming or playing outdoors, putting their health at significant risk.
You can consider topical flea treatments from your vet to avoid this issue. However, these can be washed away during baths. Therefore, talk to a veterinarian doctor in detail about protecting your dog against parasites. Maintain the prescribed medication and avoid letting the dog play around dirty areas.
10. Beware of Fireworks
Summertime calls for celebrations and enjoyment. Picnics, barbeques and night celebrations are quite common during this time. As a result, fireworks can also be more commonly seen. Dogs are known to be scared of fireworks, and their loud noise can harm their eardrums. Moreover, they can easily burn themselves if they come close to barbecues and grills.
Remember to keep your dog indoors if you are celebrating with fireworks at night. Moreover, clean the yard to remove any bits and pieces of the fireworks. Apart from that, keep a constant eye on your dog at barbecue parties and ensure they do not come close to the oven or grills.
11. Take the Right Measures for Swimming
Owners like taking their dogs for a refreshing swim during the summertime. It is an excellent activity for the dogs, as the cool water helps them get off the extreme heat. However, you need to be extra careful when taking your dog swimming. Swimming can be dangerous for dogs in a small pool, lake, or even the sea.
Dogs do not always swim well, and strong currents and riptides can also be dangerous. Hence, carry a bright-coloured life vest, and make your dog wear it before sending him/her for a swim. After the swim, you can use soft cotton balls to remove excess water from the ears of the dog to avoid health issues.
12. Pay Attention to Healthcare
Dogs can fall sick easily during summer. As they play around in a hot environment, they might get a heat stroke. They can also suffer from extreme dehydration, leading to other health issues.
It is, therefore, essential for a dog owner to keep an eye on the health conditions of the dog. Bring your dog to the vet if you notice any signs of lethargy, heavy panting or excessive drooling. Seek quick medical attention so that these conditions do not escalate.
13. Change Sleeping Area
If you live in areas where the summer temperature is extreme, you might need to change the sleeping spot for the dog. Usually, the temperature drops around night. However, your dog should not sleep in a doghouse at night. These houses can trap heat and worsen the environment.
It is advisable to move your dog indoors at night. Let them sleep in a cool and comfortable area. Ensure that the room temperature is not higher than the approved temperature for dogs. This will avoid the possibility of heat-related disorders.
14. Avoid Leaving the Dog in a Parked Car
Pet owners often need to carry dogs in their cars, and dogs usually prefer car rides. You might think it is harmless to leave them in the car for a couple of minutes to get work done; however, this serious issue can end up in ultimate damage.
Cars parked under the sun can heat up to 100 degrees quickly. Even if you turn on the AC inside the car, it will still not be able to keep the insides cool for a long time. Dogs can suffer heat stroke within 10 minutes of exposure to UV rays. Hence, avoid leaving them in the car during summer.
15. Keep an Eye on Walking Hours
Dogs usually prefer going out and playing outside more often during summer days. However, it is essential to ensure that outdoor heat does not negatively affect your dog's health. For this, you must record and maintain a specific time limit for walking your dog outside.
Usually, early morning and late evening hours have the least heat and sun rays, so it is advisable to go out with your dog during this time. Moreover, take some breaks while walking, sit under a shade or get some water to reduce the heat intensity.
How to Prevent Summer Health Risks of Dogs?
Now that you know how to care for pet dogs in the summer, it will be beneficial to learn more about the health risks that they might face during this time. Here are the two main health issues that your dog might undergo during the summer heat and the ways to prevent them.
Dogs get dehydrated during summer. They are likely to be more active during this time, which leads to excessive panting, urination and some evaporation from the paws. As a result, their bodies will lose fluids more rapidly, and they will be dehydrated if they fail to take in sufficient fluids to compensate. The common symptoms include the following.
- Dry gums
- Thick saliva
- Sunken eyes
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Loss of skin elasticity
Most people rely on water to keep their dogs hydrated. However, this is not enough. Rather, electrolyte-enhanced water or electrolyte solution will be more effective than plain water. Giving such fluids at regular intervals will help you prevent this condition. In emergency cases, seek intravenous fluids from your vet.
This is one of the fatal health issues that can occur if a dog is exposed to heat for a long time. The extremely high ambient temperatures might overcome a dog's ability to dissipate heat. The longer a dog is exposed, the higher the damage will be. It is a significant condition which can lead to death. Here are some of its symptoms.
- Rapid breathing
- Bright red gums
- Red tongue
- Excessive drooling
- Heavy panting
- Loss of balance
- Noisy breathing
If you notice these conditions, waste no time visiting your vet. Initially, you can try some cooling methods, like bringing the dog under a shade, sprinkling cold water, giving a bath or fanning.
To prevent this, keep checking your dog's temperature, and make sure that it does not exceed 100°F. Additionally, you can control your dog from going out in the daytime or during extreme heat and choose only cooler hours to go for walking or playing.
Hopefully, now you know how to take care of dogs in the summer. As a dog owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your dog is in perfect health, even in extreme heat. You can follow the tips mentioned in this article to take better care of your dog. Moreover, it would help if you always stayed in contact with your vet doctor to avoid any escalation of health issues.