Summer is HERE and this is the best time of year to be outside enjoying some quality time with our loyal companions. We all the know the uncomfortable feeling of being too warm. Yuck! But the same can happen to our pets. As pet parents we need to be proactively checking for any signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion through these summer months to keep our fur-babies safe.
Check out the top 5 tips to keeping your dog safe in the summer heat:
- WATER: Whenever you stop to rest make sure your dog has lots of fresh water and even a wet towel to relax on. The wet towel on their belly and pads help to regulate their body temperature. When helping a dog cool down try to wet the areas with the least amount of fur – armpits, belly, pads and between the hind legs. You can also wrap a cloth around their neck or invest in a cooling band for them to wear when playing in areas without swimming water.***Now if your dog is bordering on heat stroke you don’t want to throw them into cold water. It seems like the right thing to do, as that is what we want when we are too warm, but changing their temperature too abruptly may result in further heating of their internal organs and worsening the overheating of the body’s core. Instead, get their pads in cool water and splash water on their bellies. Let your dog cool down slowly and allow them to be drinking water at a moderate pace. Chugging water will result in them throwing it back up and being more dehydrated than before.
- FROZEN TREATS: If you bring along frozen treats your dog can have a refreshing snack and you can help regulate their core temperature. Freeze their water bowl and top it up so the water is always ice cold. Ice cubes are a great way to keep them hydrated and they also think they are getting a crunchy treat. Tom&Sawyer offers two healthy bone broths that can be divided into ice cube trays or made into pupsicles for a frosty treat! Our bone broths are full of moisture and high in flavour! Your pampered pup will be requesting them on every outing. You can order some of our delicious bone broths HERE.
- CHECK FOR SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION: Dogs don’t sweat like we do but they have many other ways to tell us they are in need of water.
- The Elasticity Check – Pinch the excess skin on the back of your dogs neck and pull upward. Now see how long it takes to bounce back. If the skin stays raised and bunched then slowly drops back down, your dog needs to be hydrated and get to a shady place to rest. If his fur bounces right back your dog is well hydrated! When a dog is dehydrated and in need of moisture their skin takes longer to bounce back.
- The Gum Check – Note: This method may not be easy for every owner if your dog is sensitive to being touched inside his mouth. Push on your dogs gums and then release. His gums should start out white but colour should immediately rush back into the gums. If the gums remain white or colour returns slowly your dog is in need of water.
- Irregular Behaviour – If your dog seems anxious, panting more/faster than normal or seems dizzy or disoriented immediately get him to the shade and apply water to the hairless areas to cool him down. Sometimes they will not want to drink water when they are extremely dehydrated so do what you can to get it in them. Splashing it on their tongue can encourage them to start drinking or break out a frozen snack/ice cubes to entice them.
- SHADE, TIMING & MORE WATER: Try to be in the shade as much as possible and if you can head to an area with water for playtime, even better! A beach, lake or a dog park that supplies small pools for them to relax in are the best places for them to play. You can also bring your own collapsable pool and fill it up using the drinking fountains in the park. Bring a spray bottle on your walks and mist your dogs cool down zones frequently. Time your play sessions/walks accordingly so you are not out with your dog at the hottest points of the day.
- DO NOT SHAVE: People often think shaving their dog will help to keep them cool. This is a common misconception. A dogs coat actually helps to keep them cool, regulates their body temperature and protects them from a sunburn. If your dog has an undercoat you can give him a brush out to help get rid of the winter fur that he is shedding but we never want to shave the top coat. People also have an urge to soak their dog in water when they really need to cool them down. However, if your dog has a very thick coat it can actually weigh their fur down, allowing less air to circulate and making it much harder for their body temperature to regulate. When cooling your pup down it’s best to lightly mist their pits and belly and soak their pads instead.
As you can see, water, when used appropriately, is a dogs best friend in the summer heat. These 5 tips will help you and your dog enjoy those amazing summer moments in the safest ways possible and beat the heat! The more you know the safer your pup can be. Remember that dogs don’t always know how to self regulate or when to take breaks, especially when having the time of their lives. We need to monitor our fur-babies closely this time of year so we all get to have some fun in the sun.
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