It’s the Dog Days of Summer – Time To Keep That Pooch Safe and Cool

Lukas Gojda ./
Lukas Gojda ./

While the science is still out about all this climate change, one thing is a proven fact- July 3rd through August 11th are the hottest time of the year, the “Dog Days of Summer” so to speak.

Firmly, the heat grasps the US in its clutches. Even Alaska kisses the 90s as the arctic harbors become somewhat swimmable. As we enjoy the outdoors a lot of us like to take our furry best friends with us.

Here are the Top 10 Tips courtesy of the ASPCA on keeping man’s best friend comfortable.

  • Visit the vet for a checkup. Testing for things like heartworm as the summer dog park season begins is a great way to help ensure your doggo stays in tip-top shape. This is especially important if they aren’t taking preventative medications. It also can help prevent injuries by having a full checkup.
  • Keep them heavily hydrated. While dogs can over-hydrate, the risk of dehydration is even greater. With the hot and humid temperatures, the only way for them to cool themselves besides getting in the shade is to pant. They may do so very heavily.
  • Monitoring this panting for it becoming too frequent and progresses into a sign of heat exhaustion or heat stroke is crucial. Painful or difficulty breathing, skyrocketing heart or breathing rate, drooling, light weakness, stupor, and collapsing can all be warning signs. When things get very bad, things like seizures, bloody diarrhea or puking, and a body temp over 104 all mean immediate, but slow, cooling, and medical attention are crucial.
  • Parked vehicles are especially dangerous. While air conditioning and cracked windows can help, the sun’s rays can still be torturous on a dog. The sun’s rays can be exceptionally damaging through automotive glass, even with cold moving air.
  • Unsupervised pools can be incredibly dangerous. Even if a dog is a normally strong swimmer, much like humans they can get cramps, panic, or get caught on something. Especially pool covers. If the dog is getting a fresh air break, take one for yourself.
  • Shaving your dog can seem like a great idea when it’s incredibly hot and humid. The problem is their skin doesn’t usually have any direct exposure to the sun. This means they become even more susceptible to sunburn and heat exhaustion/stroke. Extra brushing can cause more damage than help in the summer months. Brushing out easily removed hair is still a healthy option, especially if you have a pool.
  • Hot asphalt can burn a dog’s pads in short order. If possible, test with your own feet or hands. If it’s too hot for you to do five straight seconds, you might want to carry your dog over the blacktop or get them some shoes.
  • Rodent and lawn pest treatments and bait can be deadly to your dog, even in small doses. Keep pets off sprayed areas for at least 3 hours past dry time. For most substances, a 6-hour window is good, but you should check with your pest professional. Place baits in house-use safe containers to keep both pets and young kids safe. Store unused bait off the floor and in a locked cabinet.
  • BBQs have tons of tasty food for humans, but not everything that sits well for use is digested by your best friend. Things like raisins or grapes, onions, or chocolate can be deadly. Chicken and other poultry bones can easily splinter and puncture your dog’s intestines. While raw feeding has its place it is not for every breed. Talk to your vet first before undertaking a diet change, especially in summer.
  • Fireworks can be incredibly traumatizing to dogs. As sensitive as their ears can be, they can make your pet feel like their whole world is crashing. Benadryl can be a great sedative but talk with your vet to get proper dosing first., Music or tv can really distract them if you have to leave, but if you can be home with a scared pet, all the better.

Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. Take care of them during this horrifically hot time, and they will take care of you for the rest of the year.