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Sun's Out, Paws Out: Essential Warm Weather Safety Tips for Your Pup

Sun's Out, Paws Out: Essential Warm Weather Safety Tips for Your Pup

With its long days and warm weather, summer brings opportunities for you and your pup to enjoy plenty of time outdoors, but with that fun in the sun comes some risks for your pooch, such as heatstroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your dog. Read on for our top canine summer safety tips!  

Understanding the Risks 

During the summer, temperatures climb and the sun's rays are more intense, and these two factors combined can lead to health risks, such as: 

  • Heat exhaustion: When a dog's body temperature rises too high, they may develop heat exhaustion, a condition marked by excessive panting, nose dryness, fatigue, excessive drooling, gum discoloration and reduced urination. 
  • Heatstroke: Untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke, which causes more severe symptoms and can also lead to disorientation, confusion, seizures and even death. 
  • Dehydration: If a dog loses too much fluid from sweat, they can become dehydrated. Signs of the condition include panting, a dry nose, dry gums, excessive thirst and decreased appetite. If you find yourself wondering "do dogs eat less in summer?" give your pooch more water, as lack of appetite may also indicate dehydration. 
  • Sunburn: The answer to "Do dogs get sunburn?" is "Yes!" Like humans, dogs can develop skin redness and inflammation due to the effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

Preventative Measures 

To reduce the risks of summertime health problems, follow these tips. 

Prioritize Hydration 

Ensuring that your pup gets plenty of water throughout the summer can reduce the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. To encourage them to drink: 

  • Place bowls throughout your house and yard 
  • Refill bowls daily with fresh water 
  • Include moisture-laden wet food in their diet 
  • Add a drop of low-sodium beef or chicken broth to enhance the taste 
  • Bring a travel bowl with you to hydrate on the go or teach your dog to drink from a water bottle 

Give Them Shade and Shelter 

Keeping dogs cool in summer can help to keep their body temperature within safe range, and shade and shelter can make conditions cooler outside. You can create shady spots with: 

  • Freestanding patio umbrellas 
  • Sun shades 
  • Fabric awnings 
  • Pergolas 
  • Ventilated doghouses 
  • Covered crates 

Adjust Their Exercise Routine 

Staying active is important for your dog's health all year long, but it's important that you make smart decisions about their exercise routine during hot weather. When dogs exercise, their body temperature naturally climbs. On the hottest days, this can raise the risks of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. To keep them moving safely, follow these tips: 

  • Offer your dog water frequently before, during and after exercise 
  • Opt for low-impact activities like walking or swimming rather than vigorous outdoor play 
  • Time outdoor exercise for early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are lower 
  • Look out for signs of heat exhaustion like panting or fatigue and stop exercising promptly if you spot them 
  • Choose shady locations like tree-lined parks for walks 
  • After returning indoors, give your dog cool damp towels or an ice pack wrapped in a towel to lie on top of 

Use Protective Gear 

Protective gear and products can help protect your dog from summer health risks. Consider investing in: 

  • Dog shoes for summer: Keep their pads safe on hot sand, sidewalks, roads and driveways with a pair of dog booties for summer. 
  • Cooling gear: Made from special fabric, cooling vests and bandannas for dogs promote airflow and draw heat away from the skin to help regulate your dog's body temperature on the go. 
  • Dog sunscreen: Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside can help prevent dog sunburn symptoms. Look for a dog-safe product that is waterproof, unscented and has an SPF of at least 30. Reapply once every 2 hours or more frequently if your dog gets wet. 
  • Collars and harnesses: During the summer months, switch to a collar and harness made of breathable materials to help your dog stay cool. 

Keep Your Home Cool 

Maintaining a cool environment indoors is equally important to helping your dog keep their cool outside. To do so, follow these tips: 

  • Run your air conditioner, if you have one 
  • If you only have AC in certain rooms, relocate your dog's bed, bowls and toys to one of them 
  • Use fans to keep air circulating 
  • Switch to breathable cotton bedding and beds for your dog during the summer months 
  • Install room-darkening blinds or curtains and/or thermal window films to keep your home cooler 
  • Don't keep your dog's bed or bowls near appliances and electronics that give off heat, such as the stove, the dryer or a large screen television 

Practice Car Safety 

Taking your dog along for a summer drive can be tons of fun, but keep these safety tips in mind: 

  • Keep windows closed and the air conditioning running when weather is hot 
  • Apply sunscreen to your dog if you'll be driving with the windows down 
  • Never leave your dog in the car on a summer day, even for a few minutes 
  • Stop frequently for water breaks when on long car trips 

Adjust Your Grooming and Care Routine 

With changes in the weather come changes in your dog's grooming needs, such as: 

  • Manage summer shedding: Many people wonder, "Why is my dog shedding so much in the summer?" when the season arrives. The reason is that many breeds lose their winter undercoats to prepare for the season. Brushing your dog regularly can help control the process. 
  • Prepare for post-summer shedding: The answer to "When do dogs shed summer coats?" varies, but most dogs will shed from September through November." Keep up with brushing even as the season ends. 
  • Talk to your vet about trimming: Some breeds benefit from a summer trim for body temperature regulation, but others don't. Your vet can provide you with advice about whether to head to the groomer for a warm-weather haircut. 
  • Keep their pads protected: Apply a dog-friendly moisturizer to their pads daily and check for signs of burns on a regular basis. 
  • Respond to sunburn: If your pooch does end up with a sunburn, using cool compresses can help relieve discomfort. Your vet can provide you with additional tips on how to treat dog sunburn. 

Get Ready for Safe Summer Fun 

Now that you know how to keep dogs cool in summer weather and understand how modifying your dog's grooming and care routine for the warm months can help keep them happy and healthy, you're ready to enjoy the season. Incorporate as many of the above tips as you can and ask your vet for more advice on summertime dog care. In preparation for the season, shop the collection of Kradle products. We have solutions for everything from separation anxiety to long summer car trips. 

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