The summer is here and it’s time to head off to the park or the beach with your dog. Dogs love the summer the same as we do but they are also sensitive to the effects of the sun. Dogs can also suffer from exhaustion, overheating, and sunburn so it pays to know a few things about how to look after your dog in the heat.
Provide water and shade
Like humans, dogs can overheat in the summer and need plenty of water, shade and dog pajamas to keep them cool and comfortable. If your dog is spending a lot of time outdoors and runs around a lot you need to provide them with rest areas and plenty of water to rehydrate.
The signs of dehydration in dogs are dry gums and drooling. You can watch for this on your afternoon walks or if your dog is enjoying some time in the sunny garden. Leave out bowls or water and turn on the hose from time to time.
Know the signs of overheating
Dogs and cats don’t sweat the same as humans do, instead, they pant to bring down their core body temperature. Drinking water also helps them to cool down internally. If your pets are overheating there are some signs to look for.
Panting is one of them. If your dog has a temperature between 100⁰F and 103⁰F that is normal, but any more than this and you will see dry or bright gums, thick drool, vomiting and wobbly legs.
Never leave them in the car
Although dogs love to ride in cars with their tongues wagging out the side window, they don’t like it so much when the window’s closed, there’s nobody in the car and the hot sun is beating through the glass.
It only takes ten minutes for a dog to develop heatstroke in these conditions so you need to take your dog with you or leave them at home. Leaving your dog in a hot car isn’t only bad for their health, it may also be illegal.
You might think that your dog doesn’t need protection from the sun because of their fur, this is true of dogs with lots of fur, but for those with thin fur and bald patches they can get sunburn just like humans.
Sunburning dogs can be painful, it can also lead to skin cancer just like with humans. If you plan on taking your dog to the beach or spending an afternoon in the park, remember to apply some high factor sunscreen to their body and head to keep them safe.
Don’t shave their coat
Although dogs with thin coats need some extra protection from the sun in the form of sunscreen, longer fur is designed to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. For this reason, it is not recommended to shave your dog.
You might think it will help your dog stay cool if you shave them in the warm weather but that won’t be as effective as its natural fur. It will also increase its chances of getting sunburn.