Guest post by Isabella Lovett
As hotter than usual temperatures are expected to continue across most of the U.S. this summer, scientists say that the year 2020 is on track to becoming one of the warmest years on record. With that said, many dog owners look forward to the summer months because it’s the perfect time to spend time outdoors with their pups. However, it’s especially important to take safety precautions during this time of year, as there are serious risks when it comes to hot weather. From preventing dehydration to simply watching the weather, here are three practical ways you can keep your dog cool (and safe) this summer.
Watching the weather
If you plan on spending time with your dog outside this summer, such as by going for a run or walk in the park or playing fetch in the backyard, it’s important to keep up with your local weather forecast. Too hot of weather can be dangerous for dogs, as it can contribute to overheating, heat stroke, and dehydration. Additionally, hot weather can make the sidewalk or pavement unbearable for your dog to walk on, and can even cause burns on their paws. By checking whether the pavement is too hot for your dog to walk on, sticking to the shade, and avoiding going out during the hottest parts of the day, you can help to prevent such issues. For those days when it’s too hot to go out, staying indoors and keeping the ceiling fan on or by opening a few windows at home to let the breeze come through can not only be an energy efficient way to stay cool indoors, but can help keep your pup cool and comfortable, too.
Dehydration is a major risk when it comes to taking your pup out and about during the summer, as an afternoon exercising outside can become dangerous quite quickly. In order to keep your dog cool, it’s important to prevent dehydration by always providing enough cool, clean water whether you’re inside or outside at all times. Knowing the warning signs of dehydration is also necessary — common symptoms include dry nose, panting, reduced energy levels and lethargy, to name a few. You can further prevent your dog getting overheated and becoming dehydrated when exercising by providing additional ways for him or her to cool off. For instance, using a shallow kiddie pool for your dog to jump in can serve as a fun way to cool off while playing outside.
The dangers of a hot car
The summer months might sound like a great time to take your dog out and about for a car ride, but it’s important to keep the dangers of doing so in mind, particularly when it comes to leaving your dog in the car alone – even if it’s just for a minute or two. In fact, one study done by the Louisiana Office of Public Health found that the temperatures in a parked dark sedan and light gray minivan on a hot, partly cloudy day surpassed a shocking 125 degrees Fahrenheit, within just 20 minutes — which can cause a deadly situation for any dog left alone. With that in mind, it’s necessary to ask yourself whether or not your dog really needs to come along, as they may be happier (and safer) in your air-conditioned home. If they do need to come along, however, it’s important to never leave your dog in the vehicle alone, even if just for a second as well as to ensure your pup is properly restrained, cool, and comfortable throughout the ride.
As a dog owner, summertime is a great time of year that is best spent by spending time with your pup, as there are many activities to do. However, whether you’re running alongside your dog outdoors, or simply playing a game of fetch, it’s important to prevent dehydration and mind the weather when doing so in order to keep your dog cool, calm, and safe.