How to keep your dog safe during summer’s hottest days

Man’s best friend can easily become man’s best overheated friend during the hot summer months.  It’s important that we keep our dogs – and all animals – in mind when the weather starts getting hot in order to ensure their safety and comfort.

Unlike us, dogs don’t sweat.  They have no way of releasing heat from their bodies.  But like humans, dogs can die from heat stroke – and many do so every summer.  Here are some tips to keep your dog(s) from being over-affected by the heat.

1. If you must keep your dog outside, make sure there’s plenty of shade available.  A well-ventilated dog house might do the trick.

2. If your dog stays inside while you’re at work, keep windows open and a fan or two running to circulate the air.  Turning on the air conditioner would be ideal.

3. Wherever your dog stays during the day, absolutely make sure to provide him with a LOT of water.  You can even add ice cubes to the bowl to give him something cool to drink.  (Nobody likes drinking lukewarm water on a hot day!)

4. Many dogs with “long hair” can get haircuts.  Actually, all long-hair dogs can, but some owners resist because of how the dog will look.  It’s up to each owner to decide if a short haircut is called for during the hot summer.

5. If you have a breed that is highly active (Jack Russell, Australian Shepherd, etc.), don’t exercise them during the heat of the day.  Do your best to prevent them from initiating their own activities during high heat.

6. Consider buying a small pool for your dog to lounge around in – assuming your dog likes water.  Buy the size that’s appropriate for your dog’s size, and if possible set it up in a shady area.

7. When taking your dog in your car, try to arrange trips at cooler times of the day.  Always leave windows open at an appropriate level.  But if you can avoid it, it’s best to leave the dog at home.

8. Dogs often will sleep when it’s hot – let them.  They know instinctively that being non-active creates less heat in their bodies.

The most important point here is to monitor your dog as closely as you can when he’s being exposed to extremely high temperatures.  If he seems more lethargic than usual or is clumsier and off-balance more than he normally is, call a vet and report the symptoms.  Also call a vet if you notice any symptoms that are out-of-character for your dog.  You may just save his life.

Nick & Ellie