Summer is an exciting time for pet owners, but as the weather gets warmer, it’s important to know the best summer safety tips for dogs. Hot weather safety for dogs is extremely important because canines are prone to heat exhaustion and other summer-weather risks that pet owners need to protect them from regularly.
The most important parts of summer safety for pets are knowing the risks of this season for your animal, being able to keep your dog cool in the summer, identifying the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs, and having a plan for maintaining seasonal safety for your pet in hot weather.
Summer Risks for Dogs
In addition to warmer weather, summer often means pets and their owners spend more time outdoors and in natural environments that include other animals and bodies of water. This environment contributes to additional risks for your pet during this season. Summer risks for pets include dangerous wildlife encounters, drowning, paw burns, and heat exhaustion.
Dangerous Wildlife Encounters
It’s not just you and your dog who will be getting out more in the warmer weather of summer. One of the most important summer safety tips for dogs is to keep a close eye on your pet when outdoors. Wildlife presents a risk for most domesticated animals. Venomous snakes, bees, spiders, bears, and mountain lions are just some of the wildlife that you need to watch out for when you take your dog on summer outings into nature.
Drowning and Water Safety
Few pet owners are concerned about their pets around water. Most dogs are quite good swimmers. Despite this, bodies of water can present a serious risk for your pet during the summer.
A river with a strong current or a frigid lake or pond up in the mountains can present a summer safety risk for your pet. Swimming in strong currents or cold water can cause your pets to tire out quickly, lose their swimming ability, and drown. Also, if multiple pets play in the water together, dogs can accidentally hold each other underwater for too long. Keep a close eye on your pet during water play in the summertime.
Paw Burns from Hot Sidewalks
An overlooked concern when it comes to hot weather safety for dogs is the heat of sidewalks and pavement where your animal is walking. While a dog’s paws are tougher than our skin, they are still walking around barefoot, and a super hot surface can burn their sensitive paws. Try to avoid subjecting your pooch to a surface that has been sitting in the sun all day, soaking up the heat.
Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
Perhaps one of the most common and dangerous summer risks for pets is heat exhaustion. Dogs pant to release excess heat in their bodies, and panting is a less efficient heat release method than sweating. Also known as hyperthermia, heat exhaustion happens when your dogs get so hot that they can no longer pant enough to control their body temperature. The inefficient nature of panting, combined with your dog’s insulating fur coat, makes canines highly susceptible to heat exhaustion during the summer months.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
The primary summer safety tip for dogs is this: be aware of and prevent heat exhaustion in your pet. There are a number of signs of overheating in dogs, and it’s very important that pet owners know what to look for with their pet’s behavior. If your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, they might:
- Pant excessively
- Have sticky drool
- Exhibit Lethargy
Other signs of heat exhaustion in dogs include discolored gums, vomiting, shaking, and a rapid pulse.
Excessive Panting in Dogs
As your pet tries to cool off, you might notice them panting excessively. Increased or frantic panting is a concern if it seems like your pets can’t catch their breath. It likely means their panting isn’t working to cool them off.
Sticky or Thick Drool
It seems counterintuitive that your pet would drool when experiencing heat exhaustion or dehydration, but it is a common sign. If the drool is thick or stickier than usual, your dog is likely experiencing heat exhaustion.
Appearing Fatigued or Weak
Your pet might appear extremely lethargic and disengaged to the point of fatigue if they are overheating. Slow movements and the inability to stand, move, or react can indicate that your pet has become too hot.
Gum Discoloration in Dogs
Gum discoloration is a common sign of severe heat exhaustion. If your pet’s gums are blue, purple, bright red, or gray, your dog is likely overheating.
Vomiting or Diarrhea in Dogs
Be on the lookout for vomiting and very soft stool as a sign of heat exhaustion. Your pet’s body will start to shut down during heat exhaustion, and this will affect its digestion and ability to process and absorb food, resulting in vomit and diarrhea.
Shaking and Muscle Tremors
Shaking, shivering, and uncontrolled muscle movements are common symptoms of heat exhaustion in dogs. If it’s warm outside and your pet can’t seem to stop shaking and trembling, they might be overheating.
You can easily feel your dog’s pulse by pressing your hand against their chest near their front elbow. While the pulse rate for all dogs is different – small dogs will usually have a quicker rate than large dogs – an elevated pulse can be a sign of heat exhaustion in dogs.
How to Maintain Hot Weather Safety For Dogs
While it’s crucial for pet owners to know what signs to look for that indicate their dog may be overheating, it’s better to take a preventive approach and keep your dog from ever becoming overheated. Some strategies for maintaining hot weather safety for dogs include carrying plenty of water, choosing your exercise times carefully, and keeping your pet in tip-top shape with a consistent wellness routine.
Carry Plenty of Water
It’s generally recommended that you carry twice as much water for your dog as you would carry for yourself on an outdoor exercise adventure. While how much water you take will depend on a number of factors, including your dog’s size, fitness level, and the thickness of their coat, you should always be prepared with plenty of hydration for your pooch. You can even get them a little backpack to carry some of their own water – but don’t overload them, as that can put them at greater risk for heat exhaustion.
Exercise During the Coolest Parts of the Day
One of the best summer safety tips for dogs is to exercise during times of day that are cool and most comfortable. This option can dramatically reduce your pet’s risk of overheating.
The coolest part of the day is usually right before the sun comes up. The air and the ground have had some time to cool off in the dark of night, making early morning the best time to exercise. If you aren’t a morning person, after sunset is also a good time to walk or run your dog. Avoid the middle of the day when the sun is hottest, and your pet is at a higher risk for heat exhaustion.
Establish a Consistent Wellness Routine with CBD for Pets
A healthy, fit dog is less likely to overheat than an overweight or out-of-shape dog. While all dogs, no matter their condition, are at risk for overheating, a pet with a consistent wellness routine can enjoy their exercise and outdoor time more, even during the summer.
A solid wellness routine will include plenty of rest, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. Some supportive tools like CBD oil tinctures for dogs can help your pets maintain their happy, energetic demeanor. Adding CBD to their daily routine can help complement overall wellness, manage signs of stress, and support physical comfort, so they’re always ready for the next adventure!
Use These Summer Safety Tips for Dogs All Season
When it comes to keeping dogs cool in summer and avoiding heat exhaustion, the most important factor is preparation. Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs will help you to identify this serious issue or even stop overheating before it happens. By understanding hot weather safety for dogs and being aware of the other seasonal risks before you take your pet out into the world, you’ll be ready to have plenty of summer fun while keeping your faithful friend safe!