Summer months means more attention to your dog’s needs and requirements around elevated temperature control and response. Every dog will react in certain ways when outdoor temperature starts to climb, and you should understand what you need to do to keep your pet safe. Some basic things to remember are:
Keep your dogs hydrated. Dogs can easily become dehydrated during the warm weather and it will happen more quickly depending on the thickness of their fur. Fresh water should be constantly available, and if the water dish is outside on the patio…keep it visible so that you can easily see if it need re-filling. If you are out walking, pack a cold-water bottle just for your dog and stop often to encourage your dog to drink.
Limit exercise. Every vet will encourage dog owners to take dogs for a walk to encourage good health, strengthen their bones, and help keep their nails trimmed, but use common sense during the summer. Shorten the length of your walk or break up a long walk into two shorter sessions.
Be aware of the outside temperature and humidity. Do not forget that your beloved Fido is walking with a fur coat and will overheat easily. Walking in the early morning or late evening hours, when the sun is low in the sky, will often help keep a dog cooler, and prevent heat exhaustion.
Walk close to your house so if you sense your dog is having problems you can turn around or call for help. Hiking paths and paved trails are wonderful resources but you will be stuck if your dog collapses in the middle of a trail that doesn’t allow cars.
Take your dog’s age and overall health into consideration when planning activities outdoors. Older dogs will tire and dehydrate more easily than younger dogs and these changes can appear without warning. Dogs can also develop seasonal allergies which can in turn affect their breathing ability, so keep a close watch on older dogs that seem to pant excessively.
Remember…our tips are informational only, and your health care veterinarian is the best source of medical and health information for your dog. Always…always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns or issues about your dog’s health. Your furry friend deserves no less from you. Always consult your veterinarian whenever you suspect a health issue with your dog. Do the right thing!