As we spend longer days enjoying outdoor activities and soaking up the sunshine, it’s not all carefree and happy days. Summertime has its own potential dangers that can impact our canine companions.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you must spend your summer looking over your shoulder for hazards and risks. But being armed with information on keeping your pets safe and healthy during the hot months can go a long way in ensuring you avoid any potential problems. We’ve covered everything from common dog threats to specific concerns for puppies in the summer – read on.
1. Heatstroke and dehydration
One of the most significant pet threats during the summer is heatstroke and dehydration. Dogs are not able to able to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as we can, which leaves them highly susceptible to overheating. (Note that cats have different suitable cat temperature).
The signs of heatstroke that you should be aware of include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, and collapse.
To prevent overheating and heatstroke:
- Ensure your best friend always has access to fresh water and plenty of shade.
- While exercise is great for your dog’s health in general, try to avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day.
- Opt for early mornings and evenings when it’s cooler.
Never leave your dog in a parked car. Not even for a minute or two. The heat can escalate quickly and become extremely dangerous, leading to an emergency.
Side note: in any season, but particularly in summer, it’s a good idea to ensure you’ve got some form of pet insurance for emergency cases.
2. Sunburn and skin irritations
Believe it or not, your dog can suffer from sunburn too. According to this article, ears, noses, and soft little bellies are most vulnerable to the harsh sun. Puppies in summer with light-colored fur and shorter hair are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the sun.
Consider investing in a pet-safe sunscreen to protect your best pal from harmful UV rays. Human sunscreens may contain ingredients that may be harmful to your dog if licked off (which, let’s face it, is probably going to happen). You can find sunscreen specifically formulated for dogs from online retailers and pet stores.
If your dog is outside, make sure that you provide a shady spot where it can retreat if it gets too toasty in the sun. Better still, bring your dog indoors during the hottest part of the day.
Signs that your dog has a sunburn include redness, peeling, and blisters. If your dog gets sunburned, consult your vet for the best way to treat this. Don’t opt for after-sun products developed for humans because, like sunblock, they may contain harmful ingredients.
3. Parasites and bugs
One of the major downsides of summer is the increase in insect activity. In particular, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other little biting bugs that transmit some nasty diseases like Lyme disease are major dog threats.
While you should always ensure that your pet’s tick, flea, and worm prevention is current, it’s critical to do so in summer when these critters are rife. Regularly check your dog for ticks, especially after being outdoors and in tall grass and wooded areas. You can bolster your protection with natural repellants and insect-resistant pet products recommended by your vet.
4. Hot pavements and paw pad burns
Asphalt and pavements can get scorching hot in summer. You only need to try walking outside without shoes on to know this. Your dog’s paws are sensitive and can very easily be burned if they are made to walk on hot surfaces.
If you’re unsure if the pavement is too hot for your doggo, hold your hand against the surface for seven seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s certainly too hot for your precious pup’s paw pads.
If you must walk or go hiking with your dog during the hottest part of the day, look for a grassy area with shaded paths. You can also invest in protective booties to shield your dog’s paws from the hot sidewalks.
5. Water hazards and drowning risks
What better way to cool off from the summer heat than with a good splash in water? Water is all part of the summer fun, whether in the pool, at the lake or beach, or simply the garden hose.
Not all dogs are happy in the water. Some dogs, on the other hand, can’t stay out of the water. But even those dogs who are natural swimmers can find themselves in trouble in the water in certain conditions.
You must never leave your dog unattended near pools, lakes, or any body of water. If heading out on a boat, ensure your pup has a properly fitting life jacket. Choppy waters and wakes from boats can overpower even the strongest canine swimmer.
Saltwater and chlorine can affect your dog’s skin and cause irritation, especially fur puppies in summer, so it’s a good idea to rinse off your dog after swimming.
6. Wandering off or getting lost
Summer is for vacations and exploring, and carefree wandering. Wherever you choose to roam during your summer, it’s essential to ensure your dog is microchipped and wears a collar with your most recent contact details in case they wander off or get lost.
By having both a chip and a collar, you double the chances of finding your precious pup again and halve the time it will take to get your pal back.
Being a responsible pet owner means it’s essential that you’re aware of potential dangers and threats to your dog and take steps to protect your dog from these. Summer is not without its hazards. By understanding the common threats and taking prevention measures, we can ensure our pets enjoy the season safely.
Keep your dog hydrated, provide plenty of shade and sunscreen, and be mindful of hot pavements and water hazards. Regular vet check-ups, preventative medication, and adequate identification can go a long way to safeguard your pet’s well-being.
With these summer pet precautions in place, you and your furry friend can make the absolute most of the summer months while remaining happy and healthy.