Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three Essential Summer Tips For Dogs

It's summertime and the living is easy, but summer fun also brings some inherent dangers to be aware of. Dog owners need to take extra responsibility to make sure their pup is safe when temperatures heat up and outdoor activity beckons. 

Everyone knows you should never leave a dog in a hot car, but it's also important to be aware that your pup can get heatstroke while they're outside.

Heat Hazards
If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child's wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in. Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water. Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun's heat is less intense. Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog's paws. Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning. Lisa and I just got back from visiting our friends in Wilmington, N.C. where we were lucky enough to spend a few glorious days boating and going to the beach. You would be amazed at how many boating dogs there were, it seemed everywhere I looked there was a dog on a boat. While on the beach an endless number of dogs were running, playing, and splashing around. So, next I thought it would be a good idea to go over some safety tips for those planning on taking Fido to the beach. 

Beach Tips 

Make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest in and plenty of fresh water. Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog's exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside. Check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish. Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament, so keep a check on your dog's activity. Do not let your dog drink seawater; the salt will make him sick. Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog's coat, so rinse him off at the end of the day. Not all beaches permit dogs; check local ordinances before heading out. Since we're talking about the beach this naturally leads us to our final tip, water safety. Remember, while you may enjoy swimming, your dog may not. For those that do, it's important they are not allowed to swim without supervision. It sounds obvious, but every year dogs drown due to owner negligence. 

Water Safety 

Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog's preferences and skills before trying to make him swim. If you're swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water and coax him in by calling his name. Encourage him with toys or treats. Or, let him follow another experienced dog he is friendly with. Never throw your dog into the water. If your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and keep his back end up. Don't let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and he may tire quickly. If swimming at the ocean, be careful of strong tides. If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown. Never leave your dog unattended in water. 

Summer is the time when ticks and fleas are out in full force, it's important that your pets be treated. If you're not sure about what to use contact your veterinarian for advice. Dogs can also have more allergies in the summer so you need to be aware of the signs so you can seek proper treatment. Lastly, with more outdoor activities comes more accidents. Knowing how to care for your dog in case of an emergency can potentially save his or her life. 


  1. This danger has been known to happen to babies for years and years, some people just don't have any common sense. Dogs are covered in fur so it is even more dangerous for a puppy to be left alone. We have learned from sad experience that nothing lasts long in a hot car.


  2. This is excellent advice, summer can be dangerous for dogs. When my family goes swimming at the lake, we always make sure our dogs aren't struggling too badly when they swim. Just by taking these few precautionary steps, summer with your dogs can be fun instead of stressful. http://www.glenerinanimalhospital.com/en/

  3. You cautioned about fleas and ticks, but I do not have to worry about them. I live in a climate that is too dry for them to survive. However, this means that I have to be extra careful about keeping my dogs hydrated. I carry around a collapsible water bowl anytime I leave the house with them.


    1. You are so lucky that fleas and ticks are not a problem for you, Eugene. I live in an extremely humid climate and almost have to wear a flea collar myself. I let my dog go with out protection one time, and my house was infested for three months!


  4. I think it's good to always be cautious when it comes to dog health. You need to always remember that dogs can overheat, with all that fur and whatnot. It can be detrimental to their health.

    Jim Tracy | http://myuniversitypethospital.com

  5. My wife and I recently got a puppy and were looking at different site to see how to keep it safer. I never realized how easy it is for a dog to get too hot and to make sure they have shade. I didn't know that some dogs don't know how to swim! http://westlakeanimalhospitalinc.net/

  6. Thanks for the tips! I didn't realize how much the heat could affect my dog until she started to get tired on longer walks. I realized I couldn't take her in the middle of the day when the sun was so hot.

    Jenn | http://www.windsorvet.com

  7. I think you are right, most people know of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car, but most people don't think that dogs can get too hot just sitting outside. You have some great tips for keeping pets safe during the hot months of summer. I think every pet should have shade and water when they are outside. Those are the essentials that no pet should be without outside. Thanks for sharing.

    Amber | http://www.marcumroadvet.com

  8. The puppy in the picture is adorable and I want one so bad! I agree with you that the heat can be very dangerous to dogs. I volunteered at an animal hospital over the summer and I learned so much about animals that I didn't know before.

    Jessie | http://www.centennialpets.com

  9. I'm glad that you provide all of these tips for caring for animals. I want to keep my dog around as long as I can. I do what I can to keep him healthy. http://www.denvilleanimalhospital.com

  10. I have a dog at home and in the summers it is brutal for her. She is a sheltie and beagle mix and she has the long hair of a sheltie. I really like the idea of putting a kids pool out for her so she can cool off. Great idea. Last summer she got really sick and we had to take her to the vet.

  11. I have a dog that has pretty bad health. He just can't catch a break. His last visit at the hospital was to get his leg treated after he was hit by a car. I have taken him in for just regular things like teeth cleaning.


  12. I am going to print this page so I have this information next summer. My dog and I love to go on long hikes, and we lose a lot of fluids. I had to take him to the animal hospital for dehydration last year. I would never have forgiven myself if he hadn't made it.


  13. The summer can get really warm for animals. Some animals have a heavy fur. If this is the case owners need to keep their animals hydrated with water. http://www.ivanhoevet.com.au/vaccination.html