When summer approaches and the dog problems in cold weather are long behind us. Dog owners should take care of their pet in hot weather. In this article, we are going to give you some valuable tips and advice on how to keep your furry friend happy and comfortable when the mercury rises.
We also take a look at some of the serious health issues that can affect dogs during periods of excessive heat and how to keep your pet from succumbing to them. Are some dogs more at risk from overheating than others?
Do some research on breeds and look at different ways you can cool your dog down.
Dogs that cannot tolerate hot weather
To some extent, all dogs are susceptible to the effects of excessive heat. This is because dogs cannot cool themselves as efficiently as humans.
Dogs can only sweat through their paws, with wheezing serving as the primary method of cooling. So you can see that a dog with a very thick, fluffy coat can overheat extremely quickly if exposed to strong sunshine for long periods of time.
Even dogs with thin coats such as greyhounds can suffer from sunburn and heatstroke because they do not have thick coats to protect their skin and act as a barrier against the sun’s UV rays.
Flat (brachycephalic) dogs
Brachycephalic breeds like Pekingese, pugs, and bulldogs have flat faces and short snouts. This conformational disorder can cause breathing difficulties, especially in hot weather. Wheezing can be difficult, which means flat-faced dogs have a harder time cooling off than young puppies with long snouts.
Overweight dogs always struggle to cope with the hot summer months. Obesity is not good for your pet as the extra weight puts more strain on their body and warm weather only increases the pressure.
Dogs with thick coats overheat much faster than short-haired breeds. So, if you own a Siberian Husky or German Shepherd, your canine companion will have more problems during a heatwave than your neighbor’s Basenji.
Giant breeds often have difficulty cooling off just because of their size. Owners of large dogs such as Great Danes and Bernese Mountain Dogs must therefore be vigilant in hot weather.
Just like the elderly, older puppies and people with health problems are more sensitive to very warm weather and tend to overheat more easily than young, healthy dogs.
If you live in an area that has a warm climate and usually has hot summers, consider choosing a heat-tolerant dog breed as your four-legged friend.
In general, breeds with short, thin layers do best for the heat. Look for breeds that come from areas with warm climates, such as the Chihuahua, Basenjis, and Pharaoh Hounds. Also, members of the greyhound group are built to withstand the heat like Salukis, greyhounds, and whippets.
Tips for hot weather
What steps can you take to keep your dog comfortable and safe in hot weather? Check out our top tips to keep your dog cool this summer.
- Water, water and more water!
First and foremost, always provide your dog with unlimited fresh, clean water to drink, especially in very warm weather. Dehydration occurs very quickly in hot weather. So give your dog as much water as he wants to drink.
Always walk your dog early in the morning and late in the day when the sun has lost most of its strength. If possible, avoid walking your dog between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Even if your dog has other ideas, keep the training sessions gentle and calm. If you allow your dog to chase around for a ball, it will get hot quickly and it will take longer to cool down and will be more difficult on hot days. Lively puppies are best limited to pure lead exercise until the temperature drops.
If your dog’s usual training regimen is to take two very long walks each day, try taking several shorter walks instead until the weather cools off.
Try investing in a dog umbrella! Although dog bollies are designed to keep spoiled pooches dry on wet days, they’re also great as parasols to keep your dog’s sun out while walking!
Bring water and offer your dog a drink at regular intervals during his walk.
- Hot underfoot
When the sun is intense, sidewalks and sand can get very hot and there is a risk of burning your dog’s pads.
There is a simple test that can be used to determine if the underfoot temperature is right for your pet. Just put your palm on the floor and hold it there. If you can’t hold your hand there for more than five seconds, the sidewalk is too hot for your pet’s paws!
If you’re taking a trip to the beach on a hot day, invest in some protective shoes for your dog to keep his pads from getting burned by the hot sand.
- Dogs die in hot cars!
According to PDSA dogs die in hot cars! ”
Remember, even if you park in the shade with the windows open, your car will quickly turn into an oven. When the outside temperature is mild 700Q, the temperature in your car can hit a lethal 1200F in just 20 minutes.
If you see a dog trapped in a car on a hot day, call 911. You could only save a life.
- Travel safely
Whenever you go on a summer road trip with your dog, always make sure that they are held securely in your vehicle either in a travel crate or with a dog seat belt.
Did you know that a common cause of eye injuries in dogs is being hit in the eye by a stone or other debris while hanging out of a car window? And some unfortunate pups have fallen from moving cars or been injured by a vehicle going in the opposite direction.
Although Fido can enjoy the feel of the wind in his ears, never let your dog hang out of your car window!
- Find the shade
If you have a yard make sure there is a shaded area for your dog to relax in. If you don’t have trees or bushes to provide natural shade for your dog, invest in a pet gazebo, especially your furry friend!
- Chill-out room
If your dog spends a majority of his time in your house, then you can create a cool place for him. An area with a tiled floor instead of a warm carpet is perfect, and you can put a fan on or turn on the air conditioning.
If your home doesn’t have a cool tile area, provide your dog with a pet cooling mat. Animal cooling mats are filled with a special, pet-safe gel that becomes cold immediately when activated by the pressure of the dog lying down.
- Paddling pool for pets
Most dogs love to play in the water, and a pet paddling pool is the perfect place for your dog to cool off. Pet paddling pools are specifically designed to withstand the effects of scratching claws, and most are collapsible for easy assembly and storage.
Place the paddling pool in the shade so the water is not heated by the sun and always supervise your dog when he cools off in the water. If you have a small dog, make sure they can get in and out of the pool easily and safely (especially if they are old) and keep the water level below your pet’s chest.
If your dog has access to the yard during the day, it’s a good idea to let a sprinkler play while he’s outside so your pet can cool off whenever they want.
- Extra care
If you own a double-coated dog breed as the weather warms up and the days get longer, your extra furry friend will begin to shed his undercoat.
Grooming your dog daily during this seasonal dandruff period can be of great help to your pet in hot weather, as brushing will help get rid of some of that insulating lint and keep it cooler.
Not Shave your dog! Cutting off a thick coat seems like a good idea, but a thick coat can protect your dog from UV damage and actually helps keep some of the sun’s heat away. Shaving a double coat will prevent the fur from growing back properly and your pet may shiver when the colder weather returns.
Some breeds of dogs benefit from summer outfits but always leave that job to a professional dog groomer.
- Sunscreen for dogs!
Some breeds of dogs can be prone to sunburn. Thin-haired dogs with white coats have skin that is extremely sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays. The endangered breeds include the Dalmatians, Dogo Argentino, English bulldog and whippet.
The harsh rays of the sun easily penetrate the short or white fur, reach the pink skin underneath and cause sunburn. Hairless breeds are also endangered, including those that are dark in color. If you have a hairless breed, you should take extra care to keep them out of the sun whenever possible.
You can protect your white or thinly coated puppy with a dog sunscreen.
Plus, all dog noses can become dehydrated and sunburned quickly, especially if you take a day trip to the beach. So protect your pooch’s snout on summer days with regular use of special sunscreens for dogs.
Always use a dog-specific sunscreen product, not your own Hawaiian Tropic! Human shampoo, soap, and sunscreen are not safe for animals and can be harmful.
- Protective clothing
If your dog cannot tolerate plenty of sunscreen, you can equip him with a special UV protective jacket. These lightweight jackets have a reflective lining to ward off the sun’s harmful rays.
- Dog goggles
If you and your canine buddy plan to spend the summer at the beach or on a boat, there are steps you need to take to protect your dog’s eyes from UV damage that can be caused by the sun reflecting off the water.
Investing in a range of doggles can help protect your pup’s peepers from the sun, wind-blown sand, and salt spray. And it will look super cool too!
- Dogs outdoors
Some dogs live outside all year round. If your dog lives in your yard you need to make sure he has access to plenty of shade, especially if he is confined to a small area. A great way to create a shady rest area for your dog is to put a shade sail over a corner of their yard space.
If your dog has a kennel, move him out of the sun and somewhere that has shade all day to keep your furry friend’s den to stay cool.
Hazards in hot weather
Sometimes, despite the best efforts of their owners, dogs succumb to the effects of heat. In this part of our guide, we’ll look at some general health conditions that can occur in hot weather. We’ll also give you some advice on what to do if your pet has any of these conditions.
Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature is too high, usually after prolonged exposure to the sun. The signs of heatstroke can include:
- Temperature above 101.50F.
- excessive, rapid wheezing when your dog is trying to lose heat
- dry mouth
- Redness and reddening of the skin in your dog’s ears
- Wiggling and difficulty walking
If you think your dog is having heat stroke, get your dog out of the sun immediately and contact your veterinarian in an emergency.
Heat stroke can be fatal, so always act quickly!
After calling your veterinarian, take steps to cool your dog down. Here’s what you should do:
- Take your dog to a cool room that has a fan or air conditioning on.
- Wrap your dog in cold, wet towels. Pay special attention to your pet’s stomach, armpit, and groin areas, where the fur is thinnest and the skin is more accessible.
- If you have a fan, place your dog in front of it while you cool them down.
- If you have a pet thermometer, check your dog’s temperature every five minutes until it drops to 1030
- Offer your dog cool water, but don’t try to force him to drink if he doesn’t want to. If your veterinarian thinks your dog is dehydrated, they can give him IV fluids.
Not Try to cool your dog down with ice too quickly, as this could put his body in shock.
Making sure your dog has access to plenty of freshwaters shouldn’t be dehydrated. However, you need to know what to look out for, just in case.
The signs of dehydration are:
- sunken eyes
- dry mouth
To check if your dog is dehydrated, gently pinch a small fold of skin at the top of your pet’s neck. When you let go of the skin, it should immediately return to its original position. If the skin is slow to snap back, your dog may be dehydrated.
Immediately provide your dog with clean, cool water.
Dehydration is a serious condition and you should always contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your dog is dehydrated.
Although dog pillows are quite tough, prolonged exposure to hot surfaces like sunburned asphalt, concrete, and sand can damage them.
The signs of pad burns are:
- Limping or difficulty walking
- discolored, dark pads
- bite or lick your feet
- Redness and visible blisters
- cracked, clearly damaged pads
If you think your dog may have a fire, remove him from the hot surface immediately, even if you have to carry him. Immediately rinse your dog’s feet with cold water to stop the burning process.
Contact your veterinarian immediately. Fires can lead to infections that can permanently damage your dog’s feet.
Excessive sun exposure can cause damage and changes in your dog’s skin cells that can eventually lead to skin cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma is not uncommon in dogs, but you must urgently seek treatment for your pet as this form of cancer is aggressive.
The signs of skin cancer in dogs include:
- Skin changes on the tips of the ears or on the nose
- Wounds that don’t heal on the nose or the tips of the ears
- the appearance of small, hard lumps on exposed areas of skin
Always contact your veterinarian as soon as you experience any of the above symptoms in your dog, especially if they have white fur and pink skin.
Summer is a welcome relief from the cold, dark winter days. Your dog will also appreciate the good weather, especially if you take him to the beach or lake for fun days.
However, keep in mind that your dog will have a harder time cooling off than you. Overheating and dehydration can lead to serious health problems for your pet. Follow the advice in this guide so you and your dog can look forward to a safe and happy summer in the sun.