Summer is the favorite season for many of us: long, sunny and warm days and more free time thanks to the holidays – also and above all to spend with our four-legged companion. Unfortunately, however, summer also hides some threat for our dog’s health: some small tricks will allow us to let him enjoy the wonders of summer without risks.
No dogwalk in the hottest hours of the day
It is suggested to always avoid activity during the hottest hours of the day. Our four-legged friends are generous and energetic, for this reason many of them would play and run in the scorching summer midday sun regardless of the risk of heat stroke. For this reason we should prefer the cooler morning or evening hours for longer walks and avoid a prolonged exposure to the warmer sun of midday.
Dog paws are sensitive in summer, too
For city dogs there is also the problem of the overheated concrete, which in the hottest summer hours can reach very high temperatures, even over 60 degrees, so as to cause burns to their plantar pads. A simple way to check if the sidewalk is too hot is to hold your hand on the concrete for at least 5 seconds: if you can’t hold it any longer it means it’s too much for your dog too.
Travelling cool in the car: cooling mats and pet crate fans can definitely help
High temperatures can also be felt in the car, especially because the highway code requires that our four-legged companion must travel fixed with a special safety belt for dogs, or confined to an even smaller space (luggage compartment or dog crate/carrier). In the absence of air conditioning in the passenger compartment we can facilitate the recirculation of air inside the kennel, with small fans specifically created and available on the market or with cooling mats or bandanas (very comfortable even in the home for dogs that heavily suffer from hot weather) .
In summer dogs NEVER wait in the car
We also would like to stress that in this period it is highly risky to leave the dog unattended in the car in any case, so never do it. In the case of particularly hot days, even the car in the shade and the lowered windows are enough to avoid the risk of heat stroke of the dog kept inside the car.
Keeping the right hydratation is fundamental
Fresh and clean water must always be available at all times to our dog. A useful hint could be to add an ice cube to the water bowl every 3-4 hours, in order to keep it cooler than the room temperature and therefore more pleasant for our four-legged companion. Hydration is extremely important in these weather conditions, even during short walks and excursions; for this purpose various types of water bottles or bowls that are very comfortable to attach to the waist or to the backpack are available on the market.
Beware of spikes and external parasites in the dog areas
Fenced dog areas represent a very important moment of freedom for “metropolitan” dogs: the possibility of running free from a leash and interacting with other dogs are important aspects of his everyday life. But often in summer the city parks are not properly cared for as would be necessary and therefore the grass, free to grow, gets to release free spikes; for this reason it would be better to avoid these areas. In any case, back home you can avoid the possible issue with a comb and a thorough check of our dog’s body, including eyes, ears, ventral area and interdigital spaces (the areas most at risk), also to verify the absence of external parasites that in warm periods thrive within the fenced dog areas.
Pugs, French & English Bulldogs are even more sensitive to heat exposure
A last recommendation in case our dog is a brachycephalic, or with a shortened muzzle (such as English & French bulldog, Pug, Boxer, just to mention the most popular); the limited length of its soft palate considerably reduces its heat dissipation capacity, which in all dogs occurs only through breathing. Therefore they are particularly susceptible to heat stroke, so they require extra care in controlling their body temperature. Some effective measures to reduce the risk are, for example, Aqua Coolkeeper mats and cooling bandanas and, for those with enough space, a dog pool.
With these simple precautions it will surely be a beautiful summer for us and for our four legs … Happy Holidays to all!