Thinking of taking your dog to the beach before summer’s over? Our dogs love spending time outdoors with us, but there are some safety tips to be aware of, especially during hot summer days. Remember, dogs can overheat—just like we do.
In fact, heat can be very dangerous for your dog. Dogs do not have the ability to sweat like our bodies do to regulate our internal temperature as a means of keeping us from going into fatal heat stroke. Rather, your dog’s only means of reducing body heat is by panting. This, along with other differences, can make instances of overheating happen much sooner for a dog than us humans.
As you’re contemplating taking your dog to the beach with you, or just enjoying this hot, summer season with your furry friend, here are some tips to keep them comfortable and safe in the heat:
1. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24 hours/day.
If you’re going to be taking your dog to the beach or out for a long period of time, freeze a bottle of water or bring ice cubes in a container so that you will have cold water when you reach your destination.
2. Be aware that asphalt and sand can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of dogs’ paws, and that your dog’s entire body is much closer to the ground than yours.
In hot weather, walk your dog on the grass or dirt where it is cooler.
3. Never leave your dog in a vehicle.
When it’s only 80 degrees outside, a car can heat up to over 120 degrees in just minutes and leaving a window cracked does little to prevent heat build-up. Many vets say that this is the most common cause of heat exhaustion.
4. Don’t tie your dog outside a storefront while you go inside.
Tying a dog outside a store while you run an errand in never a good idea, but is especially dangerous in the summer since he may be exposed to direct sunlight. If you can’t bring your dog inside the store, it’s best to leave him home.
5. Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days.
Whether you’re planning on taking your dog to the beach or not, remember that any kind of strenuous exercise when the temp is high can be dangerous for your dog. On those hot, summer days, take walks in the early mornings or evenings when heat and humidity are less intense.
6. If you keep your dog outside, it is critical that the dog has shade to lay in.
Remember, dark-haired dogs absorb more heat than lighter colored dogs do. Dog houses are not a good source of shade, or a place for a dog to cool down in, because it will trap heat inside it.
Exercise and quality time with your dog is important but, during the summer season, keep these precautions in mind as you’re trying to decide whether it’s a good day for taking your dog to the beach, or any outdoor destination.
Keep in mind, shaving your dog is not always the answer to keeping them cool. Consult a Smoochie Pooch groomer to find out how to maintain your dog’s coat to keep them comfortable in the summertime.
by Kathy Sullivan, Operations Manager – Smoochie Pooch