Summer is here and these few months in Atlanta can get uncomfortably hot at times, and dangerous for pets and people alike. It’s important to take precautions during the summer to ensure that your dog is comfortable and safe. While the summer brings many more opportunities for outdoor play and bonding, it’s necessary to keep in mind that dogs require different care to stay cool.
The most important thing you can keep in mind is to never leave your pet in a car during the summer. It can take less than 10 minutes for a dog to develop a heat stroke and suffocate. If you are going somewhere that your pet may not be able to join, it is better to leave them at home. If you are on the way somewhere with your pup and have no intentions of leaving them alone, it is still important to bring some water to have on hand for them for the ride and always have a window down for fresh air. If you see a dog in a car alone call the police immediately.
Definitely keep your pets paws in mind during the summer months. Asphalt and metal can heat up fast and this can burn your dogs paws or cause open wounds. Try to keep them on grass or cool surfaces. The heat from the asphalt can not only cause burns and wounds but it can cause a dog to overheat at a more rapid pace. It’s also important to note that a dog should not be riding in the back of a truck due to the heat from the metal.
Water, shade, and sunscreen are your best friends for walks with your dog during these hot months. Dehydration happens at a more rapid pace for dogs. Signs of this include dry gums and excessive drooling. Make sure to keep water on hand during walks and of course in the house. On walks it is beneficial to walk and take breaks under the shade to prevent heat stroke. Sunscreen is also good to have on hand. It should be strictly sunscreen for pets and should be applied to areas with little to no fur coverage such as the nose, belly, and ears for certain breeds. It should be noted that a dog’s fur is important for sun protection. Never shave your dog to keep them cool. This can result in even worse sun related issues such as cancer.
It is also important to be aware of humidity levels. Dogs pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes away heat from their bodies. If it is too humid out your dog will not be able to cool himself and their temperature will soar to dangerous levels.
Limiting exercise on the hottest of days is the best preventative there is to avoid heat related issues. If you feel it is very necessary for your pet to go out and be active on said day, make sure it is in the early morning or once the sun has gone down. This is also important for dogs with white ears who are more susceptible to skin cancer and dogs with short noses who can have a harder time breathing.