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8 Summer Safety Tips for Dogs


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Here are 8 Tips to keep dogs safe in hot weather:

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1, Being dogs, as a species understand they aren’t as capable at self regulating their body temperatures as we humans are. Many dogs – especially large dogs – do better in the winter, as they are always wearing a winter coat. However, they can’t remove that coat in the summer. Also, panting – how dogs cool themselves – isn’t a particularly efficient way to keep cool. Sweating, which is – of course – what we do – works much better. Dog do sweat some from their paw pads, and if you note little footprints it means your pup is either really hot or really nervous or both.

If you see this, contact your veterinarian – fast

2. Heat is relative to brachycephalic breeds – those are dogs with “pushed in faces,” which have limited airways. So for the Bulldog, French Bulldog, Japanese Chin, Pekingese the Pug and others, a 75 day that feels comfortable for us, may be stifling. So, imagine what it feels like to these dogs when it’s over 90 degrees. It literally may be hard to breath. And these dogs, in particular, are prone to heat stroke. Even a two-block walk under 90 degrees of sunshine and high enough humidity can be grueling.

3. Just as we are spoiled by air conditioning, so are our dogs. They may not be as acclimated to extreme temperatures as our great granddaddy’s dogs were. It’s unfair to expect dogs to sit in a backyard when it’s 90 degrees out if they are not accustomed to those temperatures. And to do so without shade and water is downright inhumane and potentially dangerous.

4. Of course, for your comfort as well as your dog’s, walks and definitely runs should be early in the morning or after sunset. Be sure to bring water.

5. Just as swimming pools are appealing to us when it’s really hot outside, the same is true for dogs. Do consider that Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekingese and others are likely to sink like a rock should they jump in. Life vests for dogs might be a lifesaver, and so is adult supervision. Even the Michael Phelps of the dog world, like Labradors or Newfoundlands, can’t swim forever. Insure they have an easy route to get out of the pool. Beware of the dangers of blue green algae in lakes, ponds and rivers.

6. One totally safe way for dogs to keep cool are kiddie pools filled with about 8-inches of water. No dog can drown, yet they can lie down if they want or splash about. Periodically add some ice to keep the water cool. (However, really cold ice water is not a good idea.)

If you see this, contact law enforcement – fast

7. When it’s 85 degrees and sunny, midday asphalt can exceed 150 degrees.  Of course, given a choice dogs will avoid walking on a surface that hot. However, we don’t always give dogs the choice – on a leash, there’s nowhere to go, so dogs “dance” on hot asphalt, potentially burning paw pads. If that begins to happen, pick up a small dog; or do what you can to get off the asphalt as soon as you can. Indeed dog paws can be burnt walking on surfaces that hot.

8. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals notes that in 2018 and, so far, in 2019, at least 104 animals have succumbed as a result of being trapped in a hot car. No doubt, not all instances are reported – so it’s likely that real number far greater. On a 90-degree day, a car will heat up to well over 100 degrees in 10 minutes, even with windows open a crack. That’s a potential death sentence.  If it’s 80 degrees out, hitting 100 only takes 15 minutes. It’s not a myth – dogs do die in hot cars, and it continues to happen far too often.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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