Klein says dogs succumb to heatstroke much faster than humans, and irreversible damage can happen within minutes.If you see a pet alone in a parked car, the Humane Society of the United States says to take down the car’s license plate and model, notify a business or security guard nearby, or call your local nonemergency police lineIf It’s Too Hot Outside, Your Dog Is Happier InsideOn a scorching day, our first instinct is to slap on a swimsuit and get our bronze (or burn) on. But what may be a hot yet tolerable day for you, can be intolerable for your furry friend.Dogs lower their body temperature through a process called thermoregulation. They achieve this by panting, which expels hot air from the body and causes moisture in the mouth to evaporate and cool, according to the Humane Society of the United States. These protective mechanisms are much less effective in the heat and humidity, especially, Klein says, for brachycephalic dogs — those smush-faced dogs we all know and love, like pugs and French bulldogs.Klein’s best advice is to leave your dog at home (with the air conditioning on, if your house gets hot), and limit walks to early morning or dusk when the sun is less harsh.It’s a basic rule of survival for every creature: Stay hydrated. Whether indoors or outdoors, your dog should always have access to a bowl of clean, fresh water. Even if you’re just out for a short walk, Klein says to always bring a dog water bottle or a portable dog bowl to fill up in case your pup gets thirsty. Lastly, it’s important to make sure the water is at a drinkable temperature — a bowl of water that’s been sitting in the sun all day will not be tempting for a dog to drink. Protect Your Dog’s Skin and Paws From Scorching Surfaces
We’ve all done a frantic tiptoe run to the water after unsuspectingly stepping onto piping hot sand in bare feet. As is the case for our toes, a dog’s paw pads can easily burn on surfaces like sand or pavement that absorb heat from the sun’s rays.“Before heading outside for a walk or play time, be sure to touch the pavement with your hand to feel its temperature,” says Kurt Venator, PhD, a doctor of veterinary medicine based in Williamsville, New York, and the chief veterinary officer for pet food manufacturer Purina. “If it feels too hot to touch, then it’s too hot for your pet’s paw pads.”Try to walk your dog in grassy or shady areas. If hot pavement is completely unavoidable, Dr. Venator says you can also try dog booties or wipe on some paw protection wax, like Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax, before walks. Dogs Get Sunburnt, Too (and Other Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Shave Your Dog’s Coat)If you have a dog with a double coat, like a Husky or Chow mobile grooming Chow, your first instinct may be to shave your dog come summer. Stop — and back away from the shears.A dog’s coat isn’t just important for keeping them warm in winter, the fur also helps protect their skin from sun damage and slows down heat absorption, says Klein. Dogs will shed their winter undercoats when summer hits, leaving their topcoat to act as a shield against the sun’s harmful rays and protect them from bug bites and stings.Shaving your dog not only disables its natural cooling mechanism, but it might affect how the hair grows back; and sometimes, it won’t grow back at all.
Some dogs do require a trim or more extensive grooming in the summer, but always check with your veterinarian first. For hairless dogs or ones who have light skin pigments, there are sunscreens formulated specifically for dogs, like Handy Hound SnoutScreen. Help Keep Your Dog Comfy (and Looking Stylish) With a Cooling Coat
If your dog is prone to overheating or has an especially thick coat, you can also try a cooling vest like the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler, which is designed to evaporate heat faster, and deflect the sun’s rays. Reviews from pet experts note that these vests work better in arid climates, and should be dry, not wet. A wet vest can cause friction and chafe the skin. There are also cooling mats available that help reduce your dog’s temperature by absorbing body heat.Keep Your Dog Safe and Calm During FireworksFireworks can be the bane of a dog owner’s existence. A study published in October 2015 in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that fireworks frighten dogs even more than gunshots or thunderstorms.“Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, so those loud booms, crackles, and whistles are alarming,” says Venator. “They’re also unpredictable — they come without warning and at different intervals, so dogs can’t get used to them.”Keep dogs indoors during fireworks, and ensure they have a safe place in the home to hide. Venator says that putting on loud music or a movie can also help distract a dog.For dogs with severe phobias, talk to your veterinarian about doggy CBD oil or medication that can help calm their nerves.CBD Is Everywhere, but How Do I Know What’s Safe?Protect Your Pup (and Yourself) From Fleas and TicksIf you and your dog are going on a hike or spending time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas, flea and tick prevention is a must. Ticks can transfer diseases that cause serious health problems for humans and dogs, Lyme disease being the most common, according to the American Kennel Club. Climate change, Klein says, is having an impact on the migration patterns of fleas and ticks. If you previously thought you were in a tick-free area, you may not be now. Talk to your vet about flea collars or the proper preventive medication to protect your pet all year round.If your dog loves to munch on grass or pretend they’re wolves in the wild, review the ASPCA’s list of toxic and nontoxic plants to make sure they’re not coming into contact with any vegetation like poison ivy that could be harmful.