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Ensuring Your Dog’s Safety During the Summer Months 

May 15, 2024

Summer is the perfect season for Fido to indulge in his favorite activities. From hiking and camping to playing and swimming, there’s no shortage of fun for him to enjoy. Nevertheless, the increasing temperatures can pose a significant risk to your beloved pet. To ensure the safety and comfort of your furry friend during hot weather, it is important to take a few precautions. Here are a few pointers from a local Jefferson, IA area vet.

What temperature is considered unsafe for dogs to be outside?

Exercise caution whenever the temperature exceeds 80 degrees. For certain puppies, however, even temperatures above 75 can pose a similar risk. Take huskies, for example, which are known for their abundant coats of thick fur. A heavy coat is perfect for a cold, snowy environment, but it can be quite uncomfortable and even somewhat dangerous during the summer months.

If the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, be extremely vigilant. Anything above 100 poses a serious and possibly deadly risk.

Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool During the Summer

To ensure Fido’s safety, it’s important to take a few measures since he doesn’t have the ability to adjust the air conditioner or position a fan towards himself.

First, make sure that Fido always has access to fresh water. If you have a large home or multiple dogs, it might be a good idea to consider adding several water stations. On scorching days, you may also want to add a couple of ice cubes to your pet’s water bowl.

It’s always a good idea to bring water with you whenever you take your furry friend out and about. Consider getting a doggy water bottle with a dispenser for your furry friend to quench his thirst while on the go. Having this item in your car, along with plenty of bottled water, can be quite convenient.

It’s also essential to ensure that your furry friend has access to areas with proper climate control. Outdoors, your pet will need ample access to shaded areas to retreat from the hot sun.

You may need to make some changes to Fido’s schedule for walks and playtime. For instance, consider walking him during a cooler time of day, such as the morning or evening. It’s also important to note that the pavement can retain heat even after the sun sets, so stick to grassy areas, regardless of what time of day it is.

Your four-legged friend will also appreciate having cool, comfortable bedding. Consider investing in a raised bed. Due to their unique design, these beds stay cooler than traditional ones by allowing air to flow beneath them. Another option is to position a fan towards or above your pet’s bed. Just make sure your dog can’t accidentally knock it over and potentially get hurt.

Another option is to consider using cooling mats or pads. These are perfect for dogs that have a hard time dealing with hot weather. Before making a purchase, conduct thorough research on the various products available.

If you prefer to take matters into your own hands, consider this nifty trick: stash a fresh towel in the freezer to chill it for a bit, and then tuck it into your furry friend’s bed. Alternatively, you could place a damp bandana around his neck. Fido will feel refreshed as the water evaporates and cools him down. As an added bonus, your pooch will look absolutely charming.

If you have a yard, consider getting your four-legged friend a kiddie pool to enjoy some splashing and playtime. Fido might also have a great time playing in the water with a hose or a doggy sprinkler. Or treat your pup to a fun fountain that sprays water into the air with each step.

Suitable Summer Snacks For Dogs

On particularly scorching days, there’s nothing quite like a refreshingly cold treat. Fido loves indulging in frozen snacks as well! This is a great way to get that tail wagging.

One delightful treat, doggy ice cream, can be found at various pet stores. Even Ben and Jerry’s has one! Another option is to create your own. There is a wide variety of recipes available on the internet. Just be sure to stick with ingredients that are safe for dogs.

Here’s a simple recipe that your pup is sure to love! First, it’s ideal to have paper cups, like Dixie cups, on hand. Arrange them on a tray, then carefully add water, sodium-free broth, or a mixture of both. Place them in the freezer until they firm up slightly, then insert a chew stick into the center of each one. Allow them to freeze completely. Then, simply grab one whenever you feel like treating Fido to a frosty snack.

Another quick and easy recipe is broth cubes. Simply pour sodium-free broth into an ice cube tray and pop it in the freezer. On hot days, give Fido a few to keep him cool. For an extra treat, incorporate ingredients like shredded meat, bacon bits, shredded cheese, peas, canned chicken or tuna, or some dog-safe fruits and veggies.

The Importance Of Grooming

Certain breeds may prefer a stylish summer haircut for added comfort. That said, there are some dogs whose fur should never be trimmed. For instance, trimming the fur of a dog with a double coat may potentially harm its natural insulation. Consult your groomer or local Jefferson, IA area vet for more information or specific guidance.

How can you tell if your dog is overheating?

Be aware of the potential dangers of overheating for dogs. Fido is unable to sweat to regulate his body temperature, except by perspiring through his paw pads. While panting can provide some relief, its effectiveness is limited. Remember—our furry friends can become overheated rapidly in hot weather, which can be extremely dangerous for them.

First, you’ll probably notice panting. It’s common for dogs to pant slightly after engaging in physical activity, such as running and playing. However, if your furry friend is panting heavily, it could be a sign that he is feeling too warm.

Here are some other warning signs to watch out for:

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

If you observe any of these signs, it is critical to cool your pet down and get in touch with your Jefferson, IA area veterinarian right away. Offer Fido a bowl of lukewarm water to quench his thirst. You can also try spritzing him with water or running a cool, wet cloth over him to provide some relief. Your Jefferson, IA area vet will provide you with more detailed instructions, so contact them immediately.

Ensuring the safety of your furry friend during the summer months is of utmost importance. Here are some tips to help you keep your dog healthy and happy in the heat:

In addition to making sure that Fido stays hydrated and cool, there are a few other factors to consider. First, be mindful of paw burns. Apply paw balm or wax to protect your dog’s paws and be careful to keep them away from hot surfaces. If the ground is too hot for you to walk on without shoes, it’s also too hot for your pup!

Next, it is absolutely crucial that you never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. Temperatures inside parked cars can quickly reach deadly levels, posing a serious threat to anyone inside.

It’s also important to ensure that Fido is neutered or spayed, has a microchip for identification, and is up to date on vaccinations and parasite prevention. If your pet is overdue for any of these things, reach out to your Jefferson, IA area veterinarian to schedule an appointment.

Summertime Fun With Fido

Summer is the perfect opportunity to embark on exciting adventures with your four-legged companion. Set aside some time in the evenings to play fetch with your dog or take him for a leisurely walk in a beautiful park. 

Is swimming beneficial for dogs?

Swimming can be a great activity, but it also comes with some risks. Ultimately, your dog will be the determining factor. Many dogs thoroughly enjoy frolicking and having a great time in the water. Labradors and Golden Retrievers, for instance, are known for their exceptional swimming abilities and the pure joy they experience when they’re able to take a dip. 

Swimming is not recommended for brachycephalic dogs, like pugs, due to their unique facial structure. Because they have short airways, these breeds can struggle even in shallow water. If you’re unsure about Fido’s swimming abilities, it’s best to consult with your Jefferson, IA area vet.

Once you receive the green light, you’ll want to remember a few key points. We recommend adhering to the same water safety guidelines as you would for a toddler:

Always supervise your dog when they are near water.
Select a dog-friendly swimming location. 
Be cautious of areas with steep drops, strong currents, or excessive wakes.
When visiting a pool, take a moment to familiarize Fido with the location of the stairs.

Schedule an Appointment at Our Jefferson, IA Area Pet Hospital

Is your dog in need of a check-up? Are you seeking answers regarding your dog’s health or care? Get in touch with us, your trusted Jefferson, IA area vet clinic, today!