Protect your dogs from the heat this summer

Is your dog digging holes in the backyard? It may not be mischief, your dog may be looking for a place to cool off. Freshly dug dirt may give them relief from the summer heat.


Most people recognize when they are coming close to overheating and can seek relief,  but pets can’t express their pain and discomfort in the same ways. Your pet can suffer pain and long-term health issues if they are left in extreme temperatures for even a few minutes.  Here are a few tips to help keep your furry-friend healthy and happy this summer:


Walk your dog early in the morning or late at night. Shift your walk time a little earlier in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. Mosquitoes are more active at dusk and dawn. If you need to use mosquito repellent, make sure the label says that it is safe for pets to avoid skin irritation. Common essential oils like eucalyptus and tea tree oil may also irritate your dog’s skin, so use caution and test on a small area first.


Check the pavement temperature with your hands. Pavement can reach temperatures of 60 degrees higher than the surrounding air. So, on a day that it is 90 degrees outside, your driveway could reach 150 degrees – enough to cause serious burns on your dog’s paws. When possible, walk in the grass or test the temperature of the pavement with your hands.


Never leave pets in the car. Even if you roll down the windows in your car, there is not enough airflow to counteract the greenhouse effect of the sun. In a few minutes, your car can easily top 100 degrees and become dangerous for your pet.


Never shave your dog. If your dog has long hair, it is ok to have it trimmed or brush it more frequently. However, it is never a good idea to shave a dog’s coat. The layers of fur will actually protect them from overheating and sunburn.


Kiddie pools are great fun for dogs too. Providing your dogs a pool to splash around in will help keep them cool, provide positive enrichment, and give your kids a reason to get out to play as well.


Freeze yogurt or other pet treats. Unsweetened, plain yogurt can be frozen into a homemade popsicle that provides healthy probiotics for your pet. Avoid excessive sugar, chocolate, and artificial substitutes that may cause diarrhea and trigger dehydration. If you have a wolfdog or exotic animal, making bloodsicles with their natural food would be another option.


If your pet is panting excessively, having difficulty breathing, has mild weakness, or starts vomiting, they may be overheated. Help them cool off quickly and call your vet to see if they may need additional care.


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