Keeping Your Dog Happy and Healthy During The Summer
It’s the middle of summer, our A/Cs are running at full blast, and a cool margarita by the pool has never sounded better. And it’s a hot one this year, with the west coast seeing 115+°F temperatures in a blistering heatwave.
Dogs and the summer just go together, they’re always ready for it and just have to be outside causing a muck of things. But while summer and dogs go together, the extreme heat and them is another story.
Every year we see stories about dogs getting overheated and getting heat stroke, but we never think it could happen to our pups. It's important to know that dogs can’t tolerate heat like us, and if you’re not actively looking for the signs of overheating, it can strike before you know it.
Tips for The Summer Heat
- Exercise and walk in the mornings or evenings, and never during the hottest part of the day.
- Watch that asphalt! — If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s definitely too hot for the pads on your dog’s paws.
- Always keep water on you and find places where there is a lot of shade.
- Just because you can tolerate the heat, doesn’t mean your dog can — unlike us, dogs only have sweat glands were they don’t have fur and must rely on panting.
- Dogs can get sunburned, especially those with white fur or thin coats. Waterproof sunscreen for babies works and might just be the thing that saves your dog from skin cancer.
- Get them a kiddy pool — dog’s go bonkers over them.
The Signs of Heat Stroke
It’s important to be on the lookout for signs of heat stroke in dogs, and you will want to take immediate action to cool down your poor pup. It's important to act fast because damage to the organs will occur if your dog’s body temperature becomes too high — over 105°F.
Signs of heat stroke:
- Heavy Panting
- vertigo/loss of balance
- Bright irritated looking red gums
Again, we want to immediately act if we see any of these symptoms. You’ll want to get them into a cool place and place a damp cool — not cold — towel over them. It’s important that you get them to drink some water — try and make sure they don’t gulp it down as it can cause them to vomit. You will want to call your vet, and they will determine if your dog should come in for a checkup.
Dog Breeds Susceptible to Heat and Ones That Kick Its Butt
Dogs with a shorten head or snout, otherwise known as brachycephalic dogs, are highly susceptible to high temperatures, especially the little ones. As well, some dogs simply have too much fur — please do not shave your dog; remember they can easily get sunburn which leads to skin cancer.
Dog breeds that can’t tolerate the heat Include:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Boston Terrier
- Bulldogs (All Types)
- Bull Mastiffs
- Chow Chows
- English Toy Spaniels
- Lhasa Apso
Dog breeds that love living in hot weather.
- American Foxhound
- American Water Spaniel
- Airedale terrier
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Border Collie
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Great Dane
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
There is little likelihood that your dog is going to stay cleaner in the summer than during any other time of the year. Hey, who doesn’t love chasing ducks and rolling around in a mud? Some people pay good money for mud baths, you know?
With dirt and mud comes bacteria that thrive in the hot summer temperatures and this is another reason for bathing them more. Now, you don’t need to bath them every day, or even once a week because it can dry out their skin. One nice thing about summer is the higher humidity, and your dog is less likely to see dry skin as a result of too many baths.
You can also help prevent dry and irritated skin by avoiding shampoos that have harsh chemicals which strip oils from the skin and hair. Tea tree and aloe vera are great for soothing and moisturizing your pups skin and coat.
Another reason we find ourselves frequently giving our pup baths in the summer is fleas. Lemongrass is one of the five essential oils that is approved by the EPA as an alternative to pesticide, and it’s fantastic for killing flea eggs.
Lemongrass is healthy, safe, and effective, and will give your pup’s coat a lovely citrusy aroma
Here’s another annoying pest that can carry dangerous diseases for both us and our fluff nuggets. Again, lemongrass is perfect for keeping away these pests because it contains citronella. Adding a touch of peppermint essential oil to your lemongrass will give your pest control a multilayered effect.
Don’t even think about not giving your pup some form of heartworm prevention, especially during the summer months. Heartworms are passed by mosquitoes and only mosquitoes, and while they aren’t around in colder months, many dog owners still give their pets heartworm preventative.
This is because heartworms can stay in a dog’s system for years causing serious damage without your dog showing any symptoms.
Common heartworm medication includes Heartgard, Interceptor, Sentinel, and Revolution.
Storms, Fireworks, and Celebrations, Oh My!
Summer is loud; the days are longer and more people are outside having fun. But for your pup, the real issue is that summer brings roaring thunderstorms and fireworks.
It feels like every dog is anxious in some way, and for many dogs, nothing works them up more than those loud abrupt noises and bangs. So what can we do to help?
Hemp CBD Oil
Many pet owners are giving their pet’s CBD oil derived from hemp to calm their anxiety. No, CBD isn’t marijuana and can’t get your pet high. However, CBD can dramatically lower your dog’s anxiety without dulling their personality or making them tired like many prescription dog anxiety medication.
Going on Vacation
The ultimate summer question, do you take them with you on vacation or leave them at home. Both situations are tricky, and while vacationing with your dog is great, unless you’re going to the beach or hiking, it might not be appropriate.
Taking Your Dog With You
Here are some great tips to make vacationing with your dog a great experience:
- Remember to bring along the water, food, and bowels
- Don’t forget their leash
- As well, don’t forget to grab some toys for comfort and boredom
- Make sure tags are up to date, and that they are microchipped
- Bring along some CBD for anxiety
Leaving Your Dog Home
It’s not easy to leave your dog at home, but if it’s only for a few days and you have someone checking up on them and letting them out for bathroom breaks then it’s doable. Again, CBD can help to keep their anxiety levels low — it works just as well for separation anxiety as it does for anxiety from fireworks and loud noises.
Having a dog sitter or letting your friends or family take care of the dog for a few days is a great idea. Again, CBD can help calm their stress while they are in a new area and away from you.
Parting Summer Tips
Perhaps the biggest tip you’ll want to take away from this is listening to your dog. Let them decide whether they want to go outside or not. Often your dog is the best weather radar that you have available. Even on a bright and sunny day, your dog can feel if there is electromagnetic activity in the air from a far-off approaching storm.
For more tips and tricks for keeping your pets healthy make sure to check out our blog. It’s full of great information that can not only improve your pet’s life but save it.