Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer Summertime brings lots of fun and adventure for you and your dog. Even still, the heat of the summer can cause your dog to become uncomfortable at best and their health in danger at worst. The best thing you can do in the summertime months is to take these special steps to keep Fido feeling his best. Dogs in Parked Cars Your dog can get a heat stroke when his body temperature gets too high. This commonly happens when a dog gets left in a car for too long. As a general rule, you should never leave your dog in a parked car, even for just a minute. Don’t think that if you crack a window that this is enough. A cracked window doesn’t cool down a car at all. According to the Humane Society of America, on a day that is 85°, within 10 minutes the car will reach a temperature of 102°. Your pet can suffer from organ damage or even die. When your dog is outside, it needs to be in the shade. Dog expert Cesar Milan says to not muzzle your dog in the summertime as it doesn’t let the dog cool itself by panting. If you suspect that your dog has suffered from a heat stroke, move them into the shade or air conditioning immediately. Animals that are particularly at risk are very young, very old or overweight. Symptoms of a heat stroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a fast heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy and a fever. You should apply ice packs or cold towels to his head, neck and chest. Give your dog plenty of water and take them to a veterinarian immediately. Look Out for the Humidity Dr. Barry Kellogg of the Human Society Veterinary Medical Association warns that it is not just the temperature that you should be watching for, but the humidity that can affect your pet. He says that if the humidity is too high dogs become unable to cool moisture from their lungs by panting. If you think that your dog is in danger, take his temperature. It should never be over 104 degrees. Protect Against Sunburn Many people don’t realize that dogs can actually get sunburned. This especially happens with white, light-colored and dogs with thin coats. The dog’s ears and nose are especially susceptible to getting a sunburn. To protect your dog from sunburn, buy sunscreen that is specifically designed for pets. When you apply sunscreen on your dog, cover the tips of your dog’s ears, his nose, the skin around his mouth and the back. Limit Exercise When It Is Hot Think about the heat when you are exercising your pet. Adjust how long you exercise your dog and the intensity of it. When it is very hot outside, only exercise your dog early in the morning or in the evening. Dogs that have short noses may have difficulty breathing when it is too hot. These dogs include boxers, pugs and shih tzus. Watch Their Paws Did you know that your dog’s paws can get burned just from walking on the sidewalk, on the street or in the sand? This is another reason why it is better to walk your dog when it is cool outside and surfaces are the coolest. To see if the surface is cool enough for your dog, press your hand on it for 30 seconds. If it hurts you, then it hurts your dog. Prevent Dehydration In order to prevent hydration, your dog should have access to fresh, clean water at all times of the day, both indoors and out. Giving your dog ice cubes or frozen chicken broth is a way to encourage them drinking enough water. You may also decide to feed your dog wet food during the summer to increase his intake of fluids. At a Campfire Because you throw sticks to your dog, he may see burning sticks in your campfire and think he would like to play fetch with one of them. It gets harder when you try to get the stick from them, as they think you are playing a game. When you have a barbecue, there is often food that is still stuck to the barbecue. Your dog may be tempted to lick this off and will burn his mouth in the process. Lighter fluid is another danger for dogs if it is ingested. All these reasons are why you need to be extra careful with your dog at a barbecue. Fireworks Simply put, keep fireworks away from your pets. They are scared by the sounds, the smell and the flash of light that they create. Your dog may actually try to run away to escape the noise of fireworks. This is why the Fourth of July causes more dogs to end up in shelters than in any other time of the year. Fleas and Ticks During the summer months, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and flies are more prevalent than any other time of the year. The summer is a good time to speak with your veterinarian about different ways to protect your dog with collars, sprays, shampoos and dips. Pool Water There is nothing wrong with letting your dog take a swim in your pool. It can be fun for you both and helps prevent your dog from getting a heat stroke. However, chlorine is not good for your dog. Don’t let your dog drink the pool water as it can upset his stomach. When he is done swimming, be sure to rinse him off with the hose.