Every year there are a few sad stories about people who left their dogs in the car “just for a few minutes” and returned too late to save their pets. Rule number one for a dog owner is never to leave your dog alone in the car. Cars heat up very quickly in warm weather, even in the shade, and dogs are as susceptible to heat as humans. As the summer approaches, we need to protect them so they don’t get heat stroke or dehydration. Dogs can also get sunburned, so be very careful with your short, or white haired pups in the sun. Tops of noses, ears, and around the groin are especially prone to sunburn in dogs of all coat types and colours.
Dogs release excess heat by panting, and don’t be surprised to see your dog panting during the summer even when she’s not being exercised. Dogs release heat by panting and sweating, although they do not sweat through their skin like humans do; dogs sweat through their paw pads. Animals with flat faces, like pugs and bulldogs, are especially sensitive to heat, because they cannot pant effectively. Older dogs are also less effective at releasing heat. It’s best to keep most dogs in air conditioned comfort during the heat of the day.
Just as you should never leave a dog in a parked car, you should also never leave one outdoors in the yard all day without water and shade. Always leave plenty of cool water in the house and outdoors, and change it regularly as dogs are usually sloppy drinkers.
If you have a home pool, you need to make sure your dog knows how to swim, and you shouldn’t leave him unsupervised. Not all dogs are good swimmers and some are even afraid of the water. Others, water dogs, will swim until they get exhausted and should probably be monitored, especially if they’re senior dogs. If your dog does swim, don’t let him drink the pool water, which contains harmful chemicals, and hose him off to remove the chlorine after he gets out.
Give your dog a summer shave if you want him to be happier in the heat. We can groom your dog at Dogtopia, and we suggest shaving to within one inch of the skin, not right down to it, to protect the dog from sunburn. Dogs with double coats should never be shaved or cut without a medical reason, as it can heavily damage the coat and actually cause the dog to be less effective at cooling down.
And last, but certainly not least, make an appointment with your vet and make sure your dog is protected against heartworm and ticks. You will have to get your dog checked for heartworm before the doctor can give you the preventive medication. Fleas and ticks are more prevalent during the summer, and you can ask the vet to put your dog on a flea and tick control program.
We’ve got a dog in this hunt: we have an air conditioned safe place for your dog to exercise, sleep and play during the warm weather. Take advantage of our comfortable facility and don’t worry about the heat.