Summer is almost over but around here it stays hot even now! Maybe you’re enjoying beautiful hikes at Turkey Mountain, cookouts at Keystone Lake, and sweet evenings at the Gathering Place. Likewise, your dog is dreaming of delightful hikes with squirrels-a-plenty to warn, mouthwatering grilling and campfire smells (just don’t drop any s’mores!), and meeting new four-legged and two-legged friends at the park. It’s a season for adventure and playing outside, and we’re here to help you keep your furry love safe.

Here are some great tips to keep your dog safe in hot weather!

1. Provide plenty of fresh, clean water

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it makes the top of the list out of sheer can’t-forget importance. Pets get hot in the summer and need extra hydration. They’re going to get thirsty. Really thirsty. So make sure you keep those water bowls full! On hikes, bring a bowl and a few extra bottles of water. Pet stores have some amazing options for collapsible bowls and even water-pack vests for your dog to wear. Offer them drink breaks periodically.

2. Be mindful of walks and hikes

On hot days, limit your dog’s exercise. Try to time activities either in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Take breaks. Walks in grass are better than paws on hot surfaces. Remember that your dog is lower to the ground than you are, and avoid hot asphalt. Try to find routes with plenty of shade.

3. Bring on the shade

Even for dogs staying at home, make sure they have a shady area to escape the heat. If it’s an especially hot day, simply keep pets indoors. Remember that open windows and doors with screens may be tempting for your dog to escape out of.

4. Keep coats in check

Keep pets well-groomed. Dogs with thick, long-haired coats should be brushed and bathed often to help with air circulation. Matted fur can hold in heat.  Remember that a dog’s natural cooling mechanism is panting. So keep in mind that flat-faced breeds may not be able to pant as effectively, and may need a little extra caution.  For cats, you can offer extra brushing to help keep them cool.

5. Chilling by the pool

There’s nothing like a pool party in the thick of summer. However, not all dogs are web-toed Labradors. Some dogs simply aren’t great swimmers. Always make sure your pet is supervised around the pool.  For those water-loving dogs, a water hose sitting out in the sun will have extremely hot water at first, so let it run a little first before your dog jumps in.

6. Cookouts

It’s barbeque season! Keep your dog away from tempting grills. It may smell delicious, but your dog won’t appreciate any burns. Pay attention to what food is on the menu, as some foods can upset your dog’s tummy.

7. For the gardeners:

Some plants can be toxic for pets. Do a little research on what you’re growing this season and make sure it’s safe around your pets. Grapes and onions, for example, aren’t good for dogs.

8. Know the signs of heat stroke

Watch out for heavy panting, restlessness, very red gums, and collapse. If your dog is experiencing heat stroke, try cooling them down with tepid water.  Bring them to the vet to prevent severe reactions like organ damage.

Become familiar with these heat safety tips to keep pets safe all summer long!

In general, make sure your pet has plenty of water and shade. For those fun summer activities, be mindful of the above tips and play it safe! There’s no reason you and your dog can’t make amazing memories all summer long – it just requires a little caution! We always hope for the best, but in case of the worst, don’t hesitate to bring your pet in to us!

From everyone at Animal Medical & Surgical Hospital, hope you’re having an amazing, unforgettable summer!

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