Summertime, with its beautiful sunny days and heat, presents unique health challenges for your dog. Here are a few health risks that your dog faces in the summer, and a few tips on how to avoid these summer health risks.
Dogs, just like people, can get dehydrated when they don't drink enough water. Your dog needs access to lots of water during the summer time in order to avoid dehydration. Make sure that you keep plenty of water bowls with clean water around your home, both inside and outside, for your dog. Dogs tend to prefer cooler water. You can make sure that your dog's water stays cool by putting ice cubes in it; this will make the water more refreshing.
If you go for walks or take your dog to the park with you, be sure to bring and water bowl and fresh water for your dog. Pick up an extra dog bowl and keep it in your vehicle at all times during the summer so you have a way to give your dog water when you go on outings.
#2 Burned Feet
Your dog's foot pads are strong but also sensitive when it comes to the heat. During the summer, asphalt and concrete heat up. If the pavement would not feel good for you, temperature wise, to walk on with your bare feet, it probably will not feel good for your dog either. When you take walks on the sidewalk or road with your dog, do it in the morning or evening when the pavement is coolest. If you have to take your dog over hot pavement, you can put dog booties on your dog to protect their foot pads. You can make your own dog booties or you can easily pick some up at a local pet supply store like Mid Cape Pet and Seed Supply, Inc.
#3 Heat Stroke
Dogs can suffer from heat stroke very easily. Dogs internal temperature rises very quickly when it is hot outside. If your dog is left in the direct sunshine for an extended period of time, or left inside of a hot vehicle, their body heat can quickly rise to unhealthy levels. You should make sure that your dog always has access to shade when outside for extended periods of time and you should never leave your dog left locked inside a hot vehicle or house. Be sure to provide lots of water for you dog to keep them cool, and don't muzzle them. Muzzling your dog in the summer prevents your dog from being able to pant, which helps your dog keep cool.
Certain dogs can get easily burned in the hot summer sun. Dogs that have thin, short, or lightly colored coats are more susceptible to sunburns in the summertime. Your vet should be able to tell you if your dog is susceptible to sunburns; if your dog is, you should put waterproof sunscreen on your dog before you take them outside. You can get sunscreen specifically formulated for your dog at your local pet supply store.
The areas where you should make sure that you really cover with sunscreen include your dog's ears, nose and mouth, as well as its back. These are the areas that are exposed the most to direct sunlight.