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Hidden Dangers of Summer: 4 Tips to Keep Dogs Happy & Healthy in the Summer Heat

Hidden Dangers of Summer: 4 Tips to Keep Dogs Happy & Healthy in the Summer Heat

It's summer and the temperatures are soaring all over the nation.  It's tempting to just stay inside that cool building.  We get it.  But, that's not entirely practical, especially when puppers is bouncing off the walls, begging for a walk or water play time.  Outdoors you go with your furry pal.

We want you both to stay happy, hydrated, and healthy while you enjoy the hot weather, so we gathered up some things to watch out for and ways to deal with the hidden dangers of summer for doggos. 

1. Hot Pavement and Tender Paws

You know those videos of eggs frying on the hot sidewalk?  Well consider this. When you go for a walk on a hot summer day, you wear shoes.  Your doggo, on the other hand, is walking on the tender pads of her feet. The cement that will fry an egg, will easily damage your dog's paws.  And since dogs are super keen on pleasing us, you may not realize her paws are being burned until after it happens.  

close up of tan dog's paws

What should you do about it?

  1. Walk when the temps are cooler, either earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not acting like an enormous magnifying glass in the sky. You both will be much happier with the cooler weather.
  2. Get doggo some booties to protect his paws from the hot cement.  Yes, he will likely complain loudly and walk all crazy at first, but once he gets used to them, he will be much more comfortable. Those same booties will be perfect for the snowy/icy conditions in Winter. Score.
  3. Do the 5-second test to see if it the pavement is too hot for doggo's paws.  Moon Valley Canine Training put out a terrific video showing the back of the hand test. It's super easy and only takes a few seconds. 
  4. Check their paws for burns after a walk.  If you see blisters or rough, dry, darker than normal spots on their paws, they are limping or licking their paws, they probably got burned. Check out this great resource from Pet MD for treating burned paws

2. Water Intoxication from Water Play?

For dogs who love water, their is little that compares to spending the day chasing balls into the surf or jumping off the pier into the cool lake over and over again. Did you know that dogs can actually ingest too much water with all that play time?  We were shocked too.

It's called Hypo-Natremia or water intoxication and it occurs when a dog ingests too much water too quickly causing a drop in electrolyte levels (sodium) and a large flow of water into the cells, including brain cells, causing swelling.   

chocolate labrador jumping into a lake

Should you be worried about it?

If you have a dog that LOVES playing in water, you should educate yourself about the signs of water intoxication and what to do about it.  A good litmus test is this.  If you spend a lot of time in the water in the summer and your dogs are with you, there is a chance they may be gulping down lots of water during play time.

If you note these symptoms in your dog, seek emergency veterinary help right away. 

3. Cooling Down After Outside Time

Our fur babies cool down in ONE very specific way.  They pant. This action acts to evaporate water from their fur and skin, cooling them down.  They have sweat glands on their paws, but they don't cool puppers down.  According to Science Friday, the sweat glands on a dog's paws help them have traction with the surface they are walking on.   

collie eating a popsicle

 

So... you have just finished a grand outdoor adventure on a hot day and now your dog is panting like crazy.  What can you do to help him cool down?  We got you.

  • Make sure he isn't seriously overheating.  Signs of heat exhaustion include:
    • Excessive panting
    • Vomiting
    • Drooling
    • Dizziness/collapsing
    • Diarrhea
    • Gum discoloration
    • Increased pulse
    • Muscle tremors
  • Cool her down with water. Wet them down with the hose and give them a big drink of water. 
  • Make him dogsicles.  Why not treat doggo to their very own beef flavored popsicles? Here are 13 super delicious icy cold treats for your pal. 

4. A Hot Car is An Oven for a Dog 

You may think that since the environmental temperature is at 80 degrees, then it should be fairly safe to leave your pet in the car. Studies show that this 80° can actually turn into 100° to 120° inside the car within minutes. If it is 90° degrees outside, your car’s cabin temperature can easily reach 160° within 10 minutes.

tan pit bull sitting in a car with the window cracked open

 

Considering that pets are more sensitive to temperature changes than humans (remember that fur coat!), this rise in cabin temperature can easily kill your pet. Even cracking your car windows open will not cool the cabin temperature. It may reduce the temperature, but only by a fraction.

If it is unavoidable that you have to leave your pet inside your car even for a while, consider leaving them at home. If not, make sure to bring them with you on your errands or send them to doggy day care!

Tuck these suggestions into the back pocket of your cutoff shorts and go have a great time in the hot summer weather.  Happy summering, Scollar Pack!