As the days start to get longer, flowers start blooming, and the rains bring hope of abundant gardens the signs of a long lazy summer are everywhere. Summer brings with it great days at the lake and the beach. Lots of fun and relaxation but also a lot of extreme heat that can wreak havoc on our canine companions. However do not despair, your dog can enjoy the great outdoors with you this summer if you follow a few important guidelines.
It is very important to always provide plenty of water for your canine companion but especially in the hot summer months. If you carry a portable collapsible bowl and a couple of jugs of water with you on your adventures you will have what you need to keep your dog well hydrated. Your dog should drink water at least every hour or so and if he starts breathing and panting heavily immediately provide him some shade and extra water. Halt any heavy exercise until he is breathing normally again.
Another way to keep your dog cool during a summer adventure is to get him wet by allowing him take a swim or spraying him off. It is a good idea to see what options you will have to get your dog wet as you plan your outing. To keep from getting your vehicle’s interior muddy and wet you will probably want to take some towels with you to clean and dry him after he plays.
By planning your summer adventures during the morning or afternoon hours you will keep your canine friend and yourself out of the hottest heat of the day. Remember if you are experiencing effects of the heat, it is worse for your dog. Also avoid surfaces such as asphalt and even sand when it is extremely hot as this can burn your dogs paws. Keep extreme exercise to a minimum when the heat and humidity is high.
Just as with a child you never want to leave dogs or other animals in a parked car. There have been many tragic stories of the devastating effects of animals and children who have been left in a parked car during the summer heat. Many have even been fatal. The temperature inside a vehicle in the direct sunlight is magnified many times over what it is normally. Even with windows cracked it can be stifling. Just use common sense in protecting your loved ones in the summer heat.
It may come as a surprise but do not leave your canine buddy in the dog house during the hottest parts of summer. Dog houses do not have proper air flow and they keep the hot air trapped inside just like an attic. You should take the time to find proper shade for your dog when he is outside during the summer. As always be sure he has plenty of water available and you can even add ice to it to help keep him cool.
To protect your dog in excessive heat be familiar with the signs of heat stroke in canines and know the steps to take to help him if this happens. Young, old or unhealthy dogs are especially susceptible to heat stroke. Some of the most common symptoms include heavy labored breathing, clear discomfort, throwing up and diarrhea, dizziness and disorientation, and seizures.
If your dog shows any of these signs get him to a cool shady area as soon as possible and contact your veterinarian. Wrap ice in towels and apply to your dog and provide water to ease his situation until you get him to the veterinarian.
You may not notice these symptoms until after a few days of the incident so it is vital to get assistance from your dog doc as soon as you see signs of heat stroke. It could potentially save the life of your canine buddy.
So as summer approaches don’t be afraid to include your dog in your great adventures. Just be sure to plan ahead and use common sense. Always remember….plenty of water!!!! By protecting your dog and yourself you will have lots of fun together!