Fun In The Sun
Summer is in full swing and major cities worldwide are already experiencing daily heat advisory notices.
Here are five tips to keep your dog-copilot safe so you both can enjoy a fun summer.
#1 Fur Coats - A really important thing to remember as the safety advocate for your furry friend is that dogs wear fur coats year-round. On a hot day, humans can dress lighter (shorts, tank tops, bathing suits, etc.) However, our dogs can't simply shed a layer or two like we can to cool off. During the summer, domestic animals die needlessly due to heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke are excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, bright red tongue, pale gums, and increased heart rate. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from heat stroke contact your vet immediately. Immerse your dog in cool water. An alternative is putting cold packs (wrapped in cloth) on the stomach and/or groin area.
#2 Hot Feet - The temperature on the concrete (sidewalks, roads, etc) can be 40 - 60 degrees higher than the air temperature. The best way to know if the ground is safe for your pup's feet is to test it out yourself. If you can put your hand on the ground and leave it there for 10 seconds your pup's feet should be safe. If you can't, then there's a high probability it will burn your pup's feet.
#3 Hot Car - Leave your furry friend at home during the summer if they are not the main reason for your outing. Please don’t attempt to leave them in the car even if the windows are opened or in the shade. The temperature difference between rolled-up windows in full Sun and windows down in the shade is only a few degrees. Your car's interior temperature can increase by 40 degrees in just an hour. Over half of that increase happens in the first 30 minutes. On a 95-degree day, it can heat up to 115 degrees in just 10 minutes. **Remember, dogs wear fur coats.
#4 Ears - Summertime is great for water adventures. Beaches, rivers, lakes, and so on. Dogs have an increased chance of ear infections during the summer because of all this water fun, and it can even happen with a simple bath. Dog ear canals make a J shape so water can sit in the bottom of the ear canal creating a risk for yeast infection. It's always best to clean your dog's ears after a bath and any water adventures. Consult your veterinarian on the best ear cleaning solution that's most suitable for your dog's breed. Your vet can also instruct you on the simple way to clean a dog's ear. I learned as a vet tech that after you put the solution in the ear (read cleaning solution direction) rube the base of the ear. Next just wipe out the ear with a cotton ball or tissue. Never put a cotton swab in your dog's ear. There is too high of a risk of causing damage if they were to shake their head or you unknowingly insert the cotton swab too deep.
#5 Sunburn - Sunscreen for your dog. Just like for people, early mornings and evenings are the least risks of harmful UV rays. White and lighter fur coats and pink noses are a risk for sunburn. There are various types of canine sunscreen you can get at your pet store. It is also good to consult your veterinarian on the best option for your dog's breed. Some canine sunscreen may be safe for dogs but toxic to cats, be sure you know the potential hazards if any. **Human sunscreen is not made for dogs and can even be toxic if it contains zinc oxide**