Summer weather can be dangerous for dogs. A car interior, for example, can reach 120 degrees F within just 30 minutes, even though it's only 85 outside and the windows are cracked. Such high temps can cause heatstroke in pets, resulting in irreversible organ damage or even death, according to the Humane Society of the United States. In addition to never leaving your dogs in the car, take other actions to keep them safe during the summer months.
Limit Outdoor Activities on Hot and Humid Days
Canines pant to rid their lungs of moisture and cool down. High heat and humidity make it difficult to do so and also put them at risk for heatstroke, says the HSUS. Limit longer walks to the early morning and evening hours, and avoid asphalt during the day as it can burn paws.
Also make it a habit to never leave the house without water during the summer, so that you can keep your dogs hydrated when out and about.
Don't Shave Long-Haired Breeds
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns against shaving longhaired dogs in the summer, as the coat protects them from overheating and sunburn. Keep them well groomed instead, trimming the hair and brushing to thin the coat.
When you venture out with your dogs during the day, apply pet-safe sunscreen to their ears and nose 30 minutes before leaving, as the American Kennel Club recommends.
Protect Your Dogs Against Pests
The warmer months also make the pests that pose a health threat to your furry friends more prevalent. Don't miss a flea or tick or other biting pests, as the summer brings with it a significant increase in the mosquito population, according to the American Kennel Club.
If you live in an area of the country where fire ants are an issue, keep an eye out for mounds. Fire ant bites hurt your dogs just as much as they do you, with severe allergic reactions to the venom requiring a trip to the vet.
Install a Pet Step in Your Pool
If you have a swimming pool at home, supervise your dogs when they approach the pool at all times. Teach them how to swim and ensure they can locate the steps leading out of the pool. For pools with steep steps that your pets may have trouble with, install a ramp that allows them to easily swim up and walk out of. Older dogs with arthritis aches or other health issues also appreciate such an exit. In the Swim offers a pet ramp that can be used both in the pool and for entry to vehicles, with its rubberized, non-slip finish helping to prevent falls.
Once your dogs are done swimming for the day, the AKC's Canine Health Foundation recommends rinsing their coat. Pool chemicals strip natural oils from their skin and coat, which can cause itchy, dry skin and a dry, dull coat. And just like humans, chlorine can give their hair a green tint.
Taking these steps will help keep your dogs safe during summer weather. You can also up the fun factor by treating them to frozen treats. The HSUS offers this tasty recipe for Peanut Butter Popsicles: Mix 1 cup of peanut butter with half a ripe banana, scoop into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight.