A dog in summer.

It’s almost summer, which calls for some fun in the sun–not just for you, but for your furry best friend, too. It is important to take precautions to ensure your dog stays healthy while engaging in all of the exciting summer canine activities. Summertime provides us with more hours of daylight, but it also gifts us with more hours of heat and potential exposure to various allergens. We all want to spend more time outside in the summer, so our team at Blue Valley Animal Hospital presents this list of tips for protecting and preparing your dog to have a healthy and happy time outside this summer. 

  1. Treat the Heat

On the hottest days, you probably find yourself inside with all of the AC and water  your heart desires. If you step outside and it feels like an uncomfortably hot sauna that you can barely tolerate for one minute, it is likely that your dog will feel the same. It is important to treat the heat with respect and remember to limit your pet’s time outside on these days. Even on days where temperatures exceed 70 degrees, your pet can have an increased risk for heat stroke, which can be deadly in dogs. Dogs are sensitive to the heat and cold as we are, so be sure to limit play time outside and DO NOT leave your dog unattended in a hot car. It is best to go for walks during the early morning or later in the evening when the temperature is lower and the scalding power of the sun has decreased.

  1. Compensate & Hydrate 

On those extra hot days, you will want to compensate for the heat by ensuring your dog is well hydrated. Make sure they always have access to several bowls of cool, clean water. Avoid feeding your dog salty foods, as this interferes with their ability to stay hydrated and cool themselves. If there is no way to avoid some outside exposure, find shaded areas for your pup to rest, and if you really want to spoil your best friend. If you decide to turn your backyard into a doggy water park with a small pool, be sure to change the water each day as hot, standing water is a lovely home for parasites, bugs, and bacteria. You will need to keep watch over your dog while they are outside and if you notice excessive panting, move them to a cooler place immediately. Contact us for help if this does not resolve quickly!

  1. Fleas, Ticks, Pollen, & Bees, Oh My!

Summertime lures all creatures great and small out into the light. Many of them can be a nuisance to your dog and cause allergic reactions or skin conditions. Summertime is also the season of pollen. Many plants that thrive in the summer release heavy amounts of pollen into the air, which can cause allergies and skin conditions as well. It is important that you check your dog’s skin and coat regularly after they have spent time outside, and if you notice any excessive scratching, licking, redness or sores, please reach out to us as we can provide expert dermatology care to help diagnose and alleviate your loved one’s symptoms.  

  1. Waive the Shave

Although it seems like the logical thing to do, it is best to refrain from shaving your pup’s fur off in the summer. Their natural coat actually protects them from the sunlight and can help them stay cool. You should groom them regularly to remove loose fur and dirt so that air can flow more easily through their coat. Grooming time can also double as the skin and coat inspection time to help you identify any abnormalities. If you need some help or want to learn more about excellent grooming, our expert groomer would be happy to assist you!

  1. Be A Vigilant Assistant

Our pets rely on us to watch out for them and provide any assistance they may need. In the summer, it is crucial to keep a vigilant eye on your dog when they are outside in the heat. Ensure that they always have a way to keep cool and watch for these signs and symptoms that your pup is overheating:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Changes in levels of consciousness-lethargy, agitation, unconsciousness 
  • Increased body temperature
  • Dark, red gums
  • Dry mucous membranes-check gums, tongue, and nose
  • Loss of balance or weakness
  • Seizures

If you are watching your dog like a hawk and notice any of these signs or symptoms, please reach out to us so we can help. We wish everyone and their pups a happy and healthy summer and summers to come!