When offering dog boarding here in Virginia, we at Healthy Hound Playground get a lot of questions from our clients about how to make sure their dogs are safe in the hot summer months. After all, nothing is more important than your best friend’s health and happiness! Here are our tips for making sure you and your puppy enjoy summer in a safe, fun way:
1. Know how to deal with the heat – By far, the number one threat to dogs in the summer is the heat itself. Remember, dogs do not sweat, which means that a walk or run that seems reasonable to you can be dangerously long for your furry companion. Watch out for signs of heat distress such as excessive panting, refusal to leave shade, or even collapse. Bring water with you and let your dog drink regularly during long outings. If your dog does get overheated, get him or her in the shade and help them cool down with a little cold water. Never force your dog to keep going.
2. Never leave your dog in a car unattended – Every year, plenty of well-meaning dog owners leave their pups in the car “just for a few minutes” or “with the windows cracked” only to end up with tragic results. Dogs can overheat quickly in a car, even with partly open windows, because cars act like a hotbox and a dog has no way to escape. Let your dog out and tie them up in the shade or take them with you.
3. Be careful on asphalt and pavement – Walking or running on pavement is always hard for dogs, but it’s worse in the summer for two reasons: we spend a lot more time outside in the summer, and the pavement can actually get so hot it burns their paws. Dogs can handle pavement in short jaunts, but if you take your dog jogging with you or on long walks, make sure there is grass or bare earth for them to walk on.
4. Choose your fertilizer carefully – Some fertilizers and other lawn care products can be poisonous to dogs. You can’t control what your neighbors use, but you can make sure your own yard is pet friendly. Talk to your veterinarian and ask what products to use or avoid.
5. Prevent fleas and ticks – Fleas are a nuisance for everyone, and ticks can carry disease. Make sure you are using an anti-tick and flea medicine of some kind.
6. Use a leash – Ultimately, most of the things that can hurt your dog in summer (or anytime) can be avoided or minimized by controlling your dog. A leash helps to protect your dog from traffic and lets you keep him or her out of yards that may have poisonous fertilizers.
What else do you do to keep your dog safe in summer?