The dog days are in full-swing, and you may be wondering how to keep your pup happy and healthy during this warm season! From hydration to feet protection, read on to learn how to keep your dog healthy and happy as you enjoy the warm weather together.
The first step to beating the heat with your dog is to always have a supply of water. Whether you’re going for a stroll, drive, or running an errand, it’s important to keep your dog hydrated both indoors and outdoors. Many public beaches and parks have a spout of clean water, but it’s never safe to assume; error on the side of caution and bring water. You’ll also need to know how to identify signs of dehydration, the more noticeable signs can include vomiting, loss of energy, excessive panting, and the loss of elasticity in your dog’s skin. However, there are less spottable signs; here is a resource that identifies all possible signs and can help decipher if your furry friend has had too much sun. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/warning-signs-dehydration-dogs/
The next thing you’ll want to know is how to protect your dog’s paws. We all know the pain of a bad sunburn, but did you know your pup can catch a burn too? Burned paws are more common than you may realize, wildly uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous for your dog. The signs you should look for are limping, avoiding walks, licking or chewing feet, paw pads appearing darker than usual, pads looking visibly damaged, and blisters or redness. To avoid burned paws try using dog booties or socks to shield hot pavements and avoid walking on streets during the peak temperature of the day. It’s important to regularly check their paws and monitor the weather app before strolling on hotter surfaces. Since your dog may not realize there’s a problem, it’s up to you to recognize the signs and protect your furry friend.
As much as you and your pup may love to bask in the sun, we all need a break! Whether you’re on a walk, spending time at the park, or chilling in the yard, be sure to scout out a shady area for your dog to catch a break from the rays; tree shade and tarps are prime places since they don’t obstruct air flow. We recommend paying attention to how long your dog has been exposed to the sun, and make sure to monitor how strong the UV rays are that day. Always remember when you’re warm, your dog with a fur coat and inability to sweat, is especially warm.
Take a Break
The final thing we want you to keep in mind is to give your dog a rest! With all the adventures summer has to offer, it’s important to take a break from your summer activities, head indoors, and enjoy a nap. We suggest monitoring your dog’s activity and building in breaks on the particularly hot days. Despite how much energy your pup exhibits, we all need downtime. Make sure to know your dog’s limits in order to have the happiest and healthiest summer yet!
Written by Gracie Butler
Animal Care Foundation
Providing elderly and disabled community members access to veterinary care for their beloved pet.