Summer Tips for Dogs

Slowly, but surely, we are moving into hotter days. And with sunny skies, long-planned vacations, and the kids being out of school, dogs are spending more time outdoors. But with the heat, we need to take extra precautions. Dogs don’t cope with heat as well as humans do. Special care should be taken with the brachycephalic breeds (Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs) due to the skull confirmation. They overheat quickly..



Dogs don’t have many options when it comes to cooling down. Their sweat glands are in their paw pads and the only other option is panting. That being said, high temperatures such as being stuck in hot cars, outdoors without shade or free access to water, or high humidity environments make it difficult to cool down quickly.


Heat Stroke


Make sure, if you want to cool down your pet first to use room temperature water to wet the coat and apply rubbing alcohol on the paw pads. Cold water should be avoided because it can close of the blood vessels making it harder for them to dissipate the heat.

Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, and sometimes bloody stool. Temperatures can sometimes exceed 106°F. Dogs showing signs of heat stroke should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. Make sure, if you want to cool down your pet first to use room temperature water to wet the coat and apply rubbing alcohol on the paw pads. Cold water should be avoided because it can close of the blood vessels making it harder for them to dissipate the heat.


Avoid Contact with Direct Heat


Direct heat should be avoided as well. Hot asphalt or concrete can reach temperature in the 100’s causing significant burns to the paw pads. Outdoor activity, such as walks, should be done early in the morning or late evening. (Most retailers are now carrying little shoes for pets as well.) Be careful with using metal bowls or outdoor watering units as well. As far as grooming is concerned, for pets with thin fur or sensitive skin, you can apply a pet friendly sunscreen. Consult with your groomer for those with thicker coats. It may be better to just do a low cut vs. a shave as the fur can act as a “natural shade’ from the sun’s rays.


Other Considerations


For those loving to swim or getting frequent bathing, make sure to rinse any chlorine from swimming pools as they can be irritating to the eyes or skin, and use a drying agent in the ears afterwards to lessen risk of ear infections.

Lastly, are a few considerations that aren’t temperature related. For those loving to swim or getting frequent bathing, make sure to rinse any chlorine from swimming pools as they can be irritating to the eyes or skin, and use a drying agent in the ears afterwards to lessen risk of ear infections. Chocolate flavored landscaping (mulch, fertilizer, pest control) should be avoided. Also, make sure your pet is protected against parasites. Summer is an active season for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.


"An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure"


As I’ve said before, it’s always better to prevent than to treat. Taking these precautions are the first steps to having a happy, memorable summer with your dogs.



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