Summer is here, which means the temperature is heating up and so is the ground you walk your dog’s paws on!
Whether you live in a tropical climate, the desert, a big city or the hills in the country, it’s important to protect your dog from the summer heat while still making sure they get enough exercise.
However, walking your dog at this time of year can be quite dangerous. As an owner, you need to be vigilant to ensure your dog is always protected.
Sunstroke, overheating, sunburn and burnt feet are all dangerous illnesses you should pay attention to during the warmer months.
Paying close attention to the signs your dog is telling you may be the first sign of sunstroke; panting, pale or dry gums, hyperventilation, increased salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, and increased heartbeat are some symptoms.
Dog are susceptible to sunburn and overheating just like humans.
Yes, their coats protect them against the sun rays, but this can also make your pet retain heat. Dogs can get a sunburn underneath their fur and can still get burned, especially the nose and stomach which are more vulnerable areas.
Humidity also plays a role in how uncomfortable your dog may feel in warmer weather.
If your dog is showing any of the above signs:
- Take them to a shady area so they can start to cool down
- Use a fan to reduce their temperature
- Place a cool, wet towel on their body, especially on their neck, under their armpit and between the hind legs (you can also wet their ears and paws)
- Give your dog some water, BUT don’t allow them to gulp it down
- DO NOT give them ice, it could shock their system
- GO TO THE VET as quick as possible (call ahead so they can be prepared)
Dogs love being outside so before you go outside with your favorite four-legged friend, make sure conditions are friendly enough for a walk. They can suffer from burned paws before they start to show signs of discomfort, so it’s important to check the weather.
Another important factor is to pay attention to the differences in temperature based on the surfaces you will be walking on; Asphalt, for instance, becomes far hotter in the sunlight than grass including synthetic grass all of which can be dangerous and retain heat!
Just because the temperature outside seems cool enough for you doesn’t mean it’s cool enough for your dog, remember the ground is always warmer.
Ground surfaces – even grass – spend all day absorbing heat energy and sunlight and can reach extreme temperatures up to 100 degrees even when it’s only in the 70’s . And don’t be fooled if you live somewhere cool, cold surfaces can harm your dog’s paws too!
There are many factors to think about before taking your dog outside in these warmer months, however, there are “7 Basic Rule of Paws” to always remember:
- If the pavement feels too hot for your barefoot, it is TOO HOT for your pooch!
- Pressing your own bare hands and feet on the pavement for 10 seconds is “recommended” to assess the heat levels.
- If you can’t hold your foot or hand there for 10 seconds don’t let your dog walk on it.
- WATCH for signs of overheating – excessive panting, disorientation, limping, vomiting and sometimes even collapsing.
- The air temperature is NOT an accurate reflection of the ground temperature.
- Be aware of the time of day, asphalt and other ground surfaces retain heat!
- Use your best judgement
If it’s too hot outside, try and set up play dates with other dogs. Meet up at a location that is dog-friendly or treat your dog to a fun-filled day at an indoor doggy daycare.
Treating your pet for any of these unexpected illnesses and accidents can be expensive. Make sure your dog is kept cool and stays away from too hot of surfaces as your furry friend is spending more time outside in the coming summer months.