Summer is here, my favorite time of the year. I love everything about summer, the sun, the heat, and water activities. Long, lazy summer afternoons are perfect for napping, eating ice cream, and spending time with our children and pets.
This year, I have been thinking more about pet safety. Summer can be a challenging time for dogs. My Raffy is 9 this year, and gets hot very quickly. Selina still has the energy of a pup and will overheat if I don’t watch her closely.
Our dogs love summer too. Selina isn’t so sure about sprinklers and water, but I am confident that this year she will learn to love summer play. Raffy has slowed down quite a bit. As an elderly dog, I need to make sure he has a comfy spot in the shade with plenty of water. One major change this summer will be our walk schedule. The hot summer sun can heat the pavement to dangerous temperatures that will burn paws.
Here are a few tips to help your dog enjoy summer as much as you.
•Take breaks from the heat. Dogs can get heat stroke just like humans, so it’s important to take breaks from the heat when it’s hot outside. Bring your dog inside to cool off in an air-conditioned room or in the shade.
•Make sure your dog has plenty of water. Dogs need to stay hydrated, especially in hot weather. Make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Tip, some dogs love ice. Selina is not the best at drinking water, but she loves to eat ice.
•Avoid strenuous activity. It’s best to avoid strenuous activity with your dog when it’s hot outside. If you do plan on taking your dog for a walk or run, make sure it’s in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
•Watch out for hot surfaces. Be careful of hot surfaces like asphalt, concrete, and metal. These surfaces can get very hot in the sun, and can burn your dog’s paws.
•Keep your dog out of the sun. The sun’s rays can be harmful to your dog’s skin, so it’s best to keep them out of the sun as much as possible. If you do need to be outside, make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest.
•Use sunscreen on your dog. Just like humans, dogs can get sunburned. If your dog has light-colored fur or skin, it’s a good idea to use sunscreen on them.
•Check for ticks and fleas. Ticks and fleas are more common in the summer, so it’s important to check your dog for them regularly.
•Take your dog to the vet for regular checkups. It’s important to take your dog to the vet for regular checkups, especially during the summer. This will help ensure that your dog is healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.
•Be aware of the signs of heatstroke. The signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. If you see any of these signs, call your vet immediately.
•The exact temperature that is too hot for your dog to walk outside will vary depending on the breed, age, and health of your dog, as well as the humidity and other environmental factors. However, as a general rule of thumb, it is best to avoid walking your dog when the temperature is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it is best to keep your dog inside altogether.
Pets are an important part of many families. In our family, they are members. I hope these tips help you and your dogs enjoy the summer.
Sara Orellana lives in Oklahoma City and writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.