Hot Summer Days: Playing it cool for your dog.

June 1st, 2023

happy hounds wearing sunglasses
Summer with our dog is the absolute best. The long summer days give us endless sunshine and the opportunity to spend more time outdoors with our pet pal. Summertime is all about adventures, big or small – maybe it’s hiking on scenic trails, picnics in the park, camping, beachside excursions, road trips, or simply basking in the sun in your backyard.

Your pet pal loves being in nature, making them the perfect companion for any outing. While we can manage the heat on some of the sunniest days, like dipping our toes in a pool, sipping on a cold drink, or moving our chair to the shade – your dog needs a little more attention to ensure they stay safe, especially when the sun is out in full force bringing with it some pretty hot temps. Heat can pose severe risks to your pet pal, but these can be easily avoided with some summer lovin’ care from you. We’ve got you covered. With these cool tips, you and your dog may have the most memorable, safest summer yet!

happy hound in hot car

Keep Your Dog OUT of hot cars.

If we needed to start with the #1 top priority for summer – it’s this one – Never leave your dog in a hot car. Even if you crack the windows, cars can heat up to dangerous levels. And more importantly, it can happen in mere minutes! You may think it doesn’t seem too hot outside for a quick errand or two that will take 5 minutes, but this could lead to devastating outcomes like heatstroke, organ failure or even death. Leaving them home is best for your dog’s health and peace of mind.

happy hound drinking from spigot

Water – Slurp it up!

Keep your BFF hydrated! Your dog can quickly become dehydrated in hot weather. Make sure you keep a bowl of water available at all times. And if you’re hanging outside in your backyard, keep a bowl out there too. If you are heading out for the day, bring along some extra water and their favorite travel bowl. There are some wonderful collapsible options to easily store in your car or bag when you are on the go.

What does dehydration look like? Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Panting
  • Dry gums and nose
  • Thick saliva
  • Sunken eyes
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea
  • Reduced energy levels or lethargic

happy hound on boat wearing life vest

Lifeguard on Duty?

You may have a furry swimmer on your hands who likes to jump in and swim like they’re USA Olympian, Michael Phelps. OR you may have a dog who is not a swimmer at all and won’t go near the water. Regardless of their skill level, it’s always in their best interest if you supervise your dog around large bodies of water. Sometimes, even the strongest swimmers can get into a pool and start panicking if they can’t find the exit. If your day is taking you out onto a lake, ocean, or river, it is advised to put them in a life vest in case they fall into deep water. For your non-swimmers just hanging by the pool, they could accidentally fall in, so it’s also a good habit to put them in a canine flotation device for added safety.

Your pet pal may be inclined to lap up salt water or chlorinated pool water, so keep an eye out since these substances can make them ill and could lead to vomiting. And at the end of the day, a good rinse to remove chlorine or salt from their fur will ensure their coat is clean and won’t leave them feeling irritated.

happy hound lounging on sleeping bag

Plan For Outdoor Play

Help your dog beat the heat! During the summer, it’s crucial to plan outdoor activities with your dog wisely by avoiding the hottest parts of the day. Early mornings and late evenings are typically cooler, providing a more comfortable environment for walks, playtime, or exercise.

Just lounging in a park or in your backyard? Set up an area that provides shade, for example, an umbrella or canopy, or place their bed under a large tree. Remember that even well-shaded spots can get warm on a sweltering day, so limit their time outside.

When out and about, you can protect your dog from getting sunburned – yes, they, too, need sun protection, especially dogs with light-colored fur or thin coats. Apply dog-friendly sunscreen to vulnerable areas such as the nose, ears, and belly when your dog is exposed to the sun for extended periods. It’s also a good time to gift some summer fashion like a light, breathable shirt for added protection.

happy hound walking on leash

Watch Where You Walk

Hot pavement can quickly become scorching and burn your dog’s paw pads. Before heading out for a walk, touch the pavement with the back of your hand to assess its temperature. If it’s too hot for you to keep your hand on it comfortably, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. On an 85° day, the asphalt can reach 135°, burning your dog’s paws in less than 60 seconds.

If you notice your dog limping or licking his paws after a day in the sun, they may have burned their paw pads. Check them for redness, blisters, and cracks. Paw pad burns can get infected quickly, so keep an eye out or head to your vet, where they may decide to treat it with antibiotics or wrap their paws for some added protection.

happy hound getting pets

Don’t Bug Me!

As the summer season progresses, the population of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes increases, requiring greater caution in protecting your pet’s health. Your dog may become ill from diseases carried by these parasites. Give your dog a vet-recommended routine to prevent insect bites, whether that includes medicine, a special shampoo or a simple brush through; it all can help keep your furry friend protected.

Signs Of Heatstroke

Early indicators of heatstroke include – Heavy panting and quick breathing, profuse drooling, dry mucous membranes, bright red gums and tongue, skin that is hot to the touch, disoriented walking, lethargy, and an elevated heart rate. Your pet’s temperature should not exceed 103 °, with 104° -107° being extremely dangerous and could lead to organ failure or even death.

If you notice these signs, immediately move your dog to a cool area, offer small sips of water, and contact your veterinarian for guidance. Do not throw freezing, cold water all over them – this could leave them in shock. Pour cool water on their paws, belly, and head. You can also use cool towels, but change them regularly since they can get warm and trap heat. Bring them to a vet immediately if you can’t bring their temperature down and symptoms do not improve. Your dog may need fluids, oxygen, and medication.

happy hound resting after hike
The sun-kissed days of summer are a time to take in the rejuvenating freshness of the open air and soak up the abundant, nourishing vitamin D. Your canine companion will love you for all the memorable moments you’ll share on your new adventures and for prioritizing their well-being on those hot summer days.

Hitting the road or catching a flight with your furry companion? Check out our top Travel Safety Tips
Summer Camp for your dog! Maybe your next travel plans don’t include your pet pal. No problem, they can have their own summer fun at Happy Hound! We have a cage-free environment where they can play and socialize with their other pals, having a safe and stimulating day. Here’s a quick video of our smiling dogs living their best lives in our new dog park!