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Summer Doggy Safety

May 15, 2024

Do you enjoy the hot weather? Many of our canine patients like this time of year. After all, summer is peak season for many of Fido’s favorite pastimes, like hiking, camping, playing, and swimming. However, the heat can be dangerous for your pet. You’ll need to take a few steps to keep your canine buddy safe and comfortable as temperatures rise. A Markham, ON vet offers advice on this below.

What Temperature Is Too Hot For A Dog To Be Outdoors?

In general, you should be careful when it’s over 80 degrees. Even temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit might be harmful for some dogs. Huskies, for example, have very thick fur. That bulky coat is ideal for cold, snowy weather, but it can make him unpleasant in the heat. If it’s over 90, you’ll need to be really cautious. Anything above 100 is exceedingly risky. We don’t get that hot here in Canada very often, but massive heat waves are becoming more common.

How Can I Keep Fido Cool in Summer?

This is the fun part! Fido cannot turn down the air conditioner or point a fan at himself, so you’ll need to take a few precautions to keep him safe.

Water is the most crucial thing. Fido should always have access to fresh drinking water. You may need to put up more water stations, especially if you have a large property and/or multiple dogs. On hot days, add a couple of ice cubes to your pet’s water bowl. Always bring water when you go out with your pet. You can get your pup a water bottle with a dispenser to drink from. This is a useful item to keep in the car. It’s also a good idea to always have water with you.

Grooming helps too. Some dogs will feel more at ease with a nice summer do. Of course, some puppies should never have their fur clipped. If Fido has a double coat, a haircut may damage his fur. Even brushing your pup will help by removing dead fur.

Your pooch should also have access to climate-controlled rooms. If your pet has a yard to chase squirrels in, make sure there is a shady spot.

You may also need to change Fido’s routine for walks and playtime. Take him out in the mornings and evenings, when it is cooler outside. 

Your pup will appreciate having a comfortable bed. You might want to consider obtaining a raised bed. Because they enable air to flow beneath them, they tend to be cooler than traditional beds. You can also position a fan near or over the bed. You just need to make sure your dog can’t tip it over upon himself.

Cooling mats and pads might also help. These are ideal for puppies that suffer from the heat. There are many different kinds available, so do some research before purchasing one. If you want to go the DIY route, store a clean towel in the freezer for your pet and place it in his bed. Or, hang a damp bandana around his neck. The water will cool Fido down as it evaporates. (Plus, your canine companion will look extra adorable.)

If you have a yard, get your furry friend a kiddie pool to play in. Fido may also like playing in the water with a hose or doggie sprinkler. You can even get your dog a fountain that sprays water in the air when he steps on it.

What Snacks Can I Offer Fido on Hot Days?

We all enjoy a chilly treat on hot days. Fido also adores frozen treats! This is a great method to get the little tail moving.

Here are a few options:

  • Doggy Ice Cream
  • Cold Canned Food
  • Broth Cubes
  • Ice Cubes with treats frozen in them

Just stick with safe ingredients.

What Are the Signs Fido Is Getting Too Hot?

Overheating is particularly harmful to pets. Fido can only cool down through his paw pads, as he cannot sweat. Panting can assist, but only to a limited extent. Remember that our canine companions can rapidly become dangerously hot in hot weather.

Panting is usually the first thing you’ll notice. It’s natural for dogs to pant after running and playing, but if Fido is panting profusely, he may be overheating.

Other red flags include the following:

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

If you notice any of these, take urgent action to calm your pet down and contact your veterinarian. You can offer Fido some lukewarm water to drink. Spritzing him with water and wiping a cool, wet towel over him can also help. Don’t use cold water, as that could send him into shock. Your veterinarian will be able to provide detailed instructions.

How Do I Keep Fido Safe in the Summer?

There are a few other things to remember besides making sure Fido stays cool and hydrated. Paw burns are one thing to be cautious of. Use paw balm or wax, and keep your pet away from hot surfaces. If it’s too hot to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your pet!

Also, never leave your pet in a car unsupervised. Temperatures inside parked cars can rise dangerously quickly.

Fido should also have his vaccinations and parasite control up to date. If he is overdue, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment.

Is Swimming Safe for Dogs?

Swimming can be a terrific option … or it can be quite risky. It all depends on the dog. Some of our canine buddies like splashing and playing in the water. Labs and Golden Retrievers, for example, are excellent swimmers who are often adorably overjoyed when they get to go swimming. Swimming should not be an option for a brachycephalic dog, such as a pug, though. Because of their narrow airways, these creatures can get into serious problems even in shallow water. If you’re not sure if Fido is going to make a good swimmer, see your veterinarian.

If you get the green light, there are a few things to bear in mind. 

Follow the same water safety guidelines as you would for a toddler. First and foremost: never leave your furry friend unattended near the water. It’s also critical to select an acceptable swimming location. If you visit a beach or lake, stick to places that accept dogs. This is not only for legal grounds. Dog-friendly swimming holes typically feature modest slopes, which are safer for Fido. Avoid areas with steep drops, strong currents, or a lot of heavy or choppy wakes. You’ll also need to be careful of blue-green algae blooms, which can be fatal to dogs. Ask your Markham, ON vet for more information.

Going to the pool? Take a few minutes to show Fido where the stairs are so he can escape if he falls in them. This might save his life! Spend some time on this, and make sure he remembers.

Enjoy Summertime

This is an excellent time to go on some fun trips with your furry best buddy. In the evenings, toss a ball for Fido or take him for a walk around a beautiful park. Spending time with dogs is always worthwhile, and this is perfect weather for it.

Book An Appointment At Our Markham, ON Pet Hospital

Is your canine buddy in need of an examination? Do you have any questions about your pup’s health or care? Contact us here at your Markham, ON pet hospital today!

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