Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer heat and your dog

Summer is a wonderful time of year but you must be vigilant and practice common sense and caution when it comes to your dog. That sounds so easy doesn't it? But you'd be surprised how uncommon common sense is!

Your dog's well being is your responsibility so please take it seriously. Keep in mind that even young dogs can be affected by the heat but be extra careful with your senior dogs.

To shave or not to shave

You may think that shaving your dog's fur in the summer is the right thing to do. But that is not necessarily the case. A dog's coat actually helps insulate and keep him cool in the summer and vice versa in the winter. And shaving your dog can put him at a higher risk for sunburn and getting bitten by mosquitoes, black flies, etc. Ultimately the choice is yours, but you should take everything into consideration before making that decision. It should never be done just because you are trying to avoid shedding or brushing.


Walking with your dog during the summer is so enjoyable. On those really hot days, do the following:

  • go when it's cooler (early morning, late afternoon and evening)
  • bring water
  • have your dog walk on grass if possible
  • walk slower than normal
  • stop and rest in the shade
  • shorten your walk
  • use your judgement, sometimes it's just too hot to walk

In short, pay attention to your dog and adjust your walk accordingly.


It is shocking and extremely sad that dogs are left in hot cars year after year despite all the constant warnings. Opening the windows a crack is NOT good enough! Hot cars and dogs don't mix period. Leave your dog at home; this is not the appropriate time of year to bring them along on your errands.

If you have to take your dog somewhere in your car, run it for a few minutes ahead of time to cool it down. Turn on the air conditioning and always bring water with you.

As cute as it is to see a dog enjoying the sights, smells and sounds with his head stuck out the window, it really is very risky to allow this. Your dog could be seriously injured or even killed if you have to suddenly break. Or he could be hit by debris or any number of things. It's just not worth it. Instead open the window a crack, just enough for some wind and smells to come in.


Always have fresh water available and encourage your dog to lay in the shade. You can cool him down with a hose, invest in a kiddie pool or a fill a bucket. Never tie your dog up somewhere they cannot access grass, shade or fresh water.

Sign of overheating

Take action immediately if your dog is experiencing any of the following:

  • rapid panting and excessive thirst
  • pale gums
  • is lethargic
  • weakness
  • nausea and diarrhea

If your dog is showing any of the above signs of overheating, try to regulate his temperature with some cool water. Call your vet for further instruction.

Your dog relies on you to keep him safe. Show him you are worthy of such an important responsibility.

Enjoy the summer!

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