Summer Safety For Dogs

Many of our canine patients love this time of year. After all, summer is prime time for many of Fido’s favorite activities, such as hiking, camping, playing, and swimming. However, that sweltering Florida heat can be quite dangerous for your furry pal. You’ll need to take a few precautions to keep your canine buddy safe and comfortable as temperatures spike. A local Tampa, FL vet offers some tips on that below.

What Is Too Hot For A Dog To Be Outside?

In general, you’ll need to be careful any time the temperature gets over 80. However, for some pups, even temps that are over 75 are dangerous. Huskies, for instance, have a lot of thick fur. That heavy coat is great for a cold, snowy environment, but it can make Fido pretty miserable in summer. If it’s over 90, you’ll need to be very diligent. Anything over 100 is extremely dangerous. 

How Do I Keep My Dog Cool In Summer?

Fido can’t exactly turn down the air conditioner or point a fan at himself, so you’ll need to take a few steps to keep him safe.

Water is the first and most important thing. Fido should always have fresh water available. You may need to set out extra water stations, particularly if you have a big home and/or more than one pooch. Go ahead and put a few ice cubes into your pet’s bowl on sweltering days. Also, if you take your furry pal out and about with you, always bring water along. You can get your pup a doggy water bottle with a dispenser for him to drink from. This is a handy thing to keep in the car, along with some bottled water.

Your pooch should also have access to rooms that have some form of climate control. If your pet has a yard to chase squirrels around in, make sure there is a shady area for him. 

You may also need to adjust Fido’s schedule for walks and playtime. Limit his outdoor time when it’s really hot. Take him out in the mornings and evenings, when it’s cooler out. That said, keep in mind that the pavement can stay hot for some time after the sun goes down.

Your pup will also appreciate having a comfy bed. You may want to consider getting a raised bed. Because these allow water to flow beneath them, they tend to stay cooler than regular beds. You can also point a fan at or above the bed. You’ll just want to make sure your dog can’t knock it over onto himself.

Cooling mats or pads can also help. These are great for pups that really struggle with the heat. There are plenty of different versions available, so do some research before buying one. If you want to go the DIY route, keep a clean towel in the freezer for your pet, and put it in his bed. Or, hang a wet bandana around his neck. The water will cool Fido off as it evaporates. (Plus, your canine pal will look adorable.)

If you have a yard, get your pooch a kiddie pool to play in. Fido may also enjoy splashing in the water from a hose or doggy sprinkler. You can even get your pooch a fountain that splashes water into the air when he steps on it.

Grooming is also important. Some dogs will be more comfortable with a cute summer do. Of course, some pups have fur that should never be cut. If Fido has a double coat, then a haircut could actually damage his fur. Ask your vet for more info.

What Snacks Can I Give My Dog On Hot Days?

We all love a cold treat on those sweltering days. Fido also enjoys a frozen treat! This is a cute way to get that little tail going.

  • Doggy Ice Cream: You can find ice cream made just for Man’s Best Friend in many pet stores. Ben and Jerry’s even makes one! You can also try making your own. There are plenty of recipes online. Just stick with safe ingredients.
  • Pupsicles: This is an easy one that your pup is bound to love! You’ll want some paper cups, such as Dixie cups. Set them out on a tray, and pour water or sodium-free broth into them. You can also mix the two. Pop them in the freezer and let them harden a bit, then put a chew stick in the middle of each one. Let them completely freeze. Just pop one out when you want to give Fido a snack.
  • Broth Cubes: This is another easy one. Simply pour sodium-free broth into an ice cube tray and freeze. Give Fido a few on hot days. You can also go a bit further and add things like shredded meat, bacon bits, shredded cheese, peas, canned chicken or tuna, or safe fruits and veggies.

What Are The Signs That My Dog Is Getting Too Hot?

Overheating is extremely dangerous for dogs. Fido can’t sweat to cool off, except through 015 his paw pads. Panting helps, but it will only do so much. Keep in mind that our canine pals can get dangerously hot very, very quickly in hot weather.

Panting is usually the first thing you’ll see. It’s normal for dogs to pant a bit after they’ve been running and playing, but if Fido is panting heavily, he may be too hot.

Other red flags include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Drooling
  • Trembling
  • Discolored Gums
  • Lack of Urine Output
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion

If you notice any of these, immediately take steps to cool your pet off and contact your vet. You can give Fido some lukewarm water to drink. Spritzing him with water can also help, as can running a cool, wet cloth over him. Your vet will be able to give you specific instructions.

How Do I Keep A Dog Safe In Summer?

Aside from keeping Fido hydrated and cool, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Paw burns are one thing to be aware of. Use paw balm or wax, and keep your pet off scorching surfaces. If it’s too hot for you to go barefoot, it’s too hot for your pet!

Also, never leave your furry friend in a car unattended. Temperatures inside parked cars can become deadly hot in just a few minutes.

Fido should also be fixed, microchipped, and current on vaccines and parasite control. If he’s overdue, contact your Tampa, FL vet for an appointment.

Is Swimming Good For Dogs?

Swimming can be a great option … or it can be extremely dangerous. It ultimately depends on the dog. Some of our canine pals absolutely love splashing and playing in water. Labs and Golden Retrievers, for example, are usually great swimmers who are in doggy heaven when they get to go swimming. For a brachycephalic pooch, such as a pug, however, swimming shouldn’t even be an option. Because of their short airways, these guys can get into serious trouble in even very shallow water. If you aren’t sure whether Fido is cut out for swimming, talk to your Tampa, FL vet.

If you get the green light, there are some things to keep in mind. You’d generally want to follow the same water safety rules as you would for a toddler. First and foremost, never ever leave your dog unattended near water.  

It’s also important to choose an appropriate swimming spot. If you go to a beach or lake, stick with those that allow dogs. This isn’t just for legal reasons: dog-friendly swim holes usually have shallow slopes, which are safer for Fido. Avoid any spots with steep drops, strong currents, or a lot of wakes.

Going to a pool? Take a few minutes to show Fido where the stairs are, so he can get out if he slips in. This could save his life! Take some time with this, and make sure he remembers.

Have Fun With Fido

This is a great time to enjoy some fun outings with your furry best friend. Take time to toss a ball for Fido in the evenings, or bring him to a pretty park for a stroll. Time spent with dogs is never wasted!

 Make An Appointment At Our Tampa, FL Pet Hospital

Does your pup need an exam? Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Tampa, FL pet hospital, today!

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