Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

When summer hits, you are not the only one who feels the heat. The season's high temperatures and humidity can put your dog at risk. So, be safe by staying aware of these hazards and reminders.

Start the Summer on the Right Foot

Visit your vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your dog gets tested for heartworm if they aren't already on year-round preventive medication. Ask about a safe flea- and tick-control program, too.

Consider a “Cool” Haircut

Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun.

Always Have Water On Hand

Keep your dog well-hydrated while away from home. Bring double the amount of water you think you'll need to ensure that your dog has continual access to fresh water to cool off.

Make Shade Available

Whenever you're out and about, give your dog access to shade at all times. Avoid staying out in the sun's harsh rays. Dogs can get sunburned just like humans.

Avoid Hot Walking Surfaces

Sizzling concrete and asphalt easily can burn a dog's paws. Limit the time spent on these surfaces and spend more time on grass and cool sand.

Watch Out for Heat Stress

Signs of heat stress include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. If you notice your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, head to the shade, grab cold water and apply cool, wet towels to your dog. Call your vet for added safety.

Dogs and Hot Cars Don’t Mix

Never, ever leave a dog unattended in a vehicle in the summer months. Heatstroke and death can occur within minutes in warm temperatures.

Approach Swimming With Caution

Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others might hate the water. Be aware of your dog's preferences and skill level before trying to make them swim.

Sources:

American Kennel Club. "Summer Safety Tips." American Kennel Public Education. 2012. Accessed 23 Apr. 2012.

American Red Cross. "Summer Safety Tips for Pet Owners." The American Red Cross Latest News. 2010. Accessed 23 Apr. 2012.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Hot Weather Tips." ASPCA Pet Care Tips. 2012. Accessed 23 Apr. 2012.

Reader's Digest Editors. "Summer Safety Tips for Dogs." Reader's Digest Pets. 2011. Accessed 23 Apr. 2012.

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