Hot weather tips for dogs

Anytime temperatures turn extreme, pet owners should take extra precautions to ensure that their companions are comfortable and safe. Pets are living beings and should be treated as such. Keeping this in mind, here are some tips to keep your pet healthy and a happy during the hot months.

Dogs can suffer from sunburn, overheating and dehydration just as humans can. Be sure that your dog has plenty of water, shade and proper protection from the sun.

Never, ever leave your pet in a vehicle! The temperature inside a car heats up very rapidly and parking in the shade is no help. Your dog could suffer from heatstroke in minutes. In additions to this, when traveling, make sure to keep plenty of fresh, cool water handy.

Dogs love to play. In summer months, when allowing them to play outdoors, let them out in the cool morning hours or late in the evening. Do not let them out right after a meal or in humid weather.

Do not let your dog stand on hot asphalt or concrete. Their body heat can increase quickly and their paws can be burned.

If your dog is an outdoor dog, it is extremely important to provide plenty of fresh water and ample shade, possibly a good dog house. Let them into a cool room of the house during the hottest hours of the day.

When walking your pet, stay away from insecticide treated areas. Also keep them from underneath vehicles, which may be leaking toxic or lethal fluids!

Most pet owners cut or shave the hair off of long-haired breeds when it gets hot. If you do this, be sure to leave at least one inch of hair. Never shave it to the skin. Dogs are prone to sunburn too.

Use sunscreen or insect repellant labeled only for use on dogs. There are ingredients in these products made for humans, which can induce drooling, diarrhea, thirst and lethargy in pets.

When cooking out, if your dog is loose, keep matches, lighter fluids, citronella candles and insect coils out of reach. Scan the yard afterwards for any of these, or other, items that might have found their way into your dog’s reach.

Even though all of these precautions apply to all dogs, there are some who require extra attention. Older or overweight dogs should be watched more closely as they can be more prone to heat related problems. Also “snub-nosed” dogs such as Boston terriers, boxers, bulldogs and shih tzus. Pets with heart or lung diseases also need close supervision. Any pet falling in any of these categories should be kept in cool, air conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Keeping your dog healthy in hot weather is mostly common sense. If you would not allow your child to be put in a situation, don’t allow your dog either. Precautions you would take with a child, do so with pets as well. Listen to common sense and your pet will love you for it