As you and your dog head outside to enjoy the warmer weather, it's important to remember pet safety. Heat can be dangerous for pets, increasing the chances of heat-related stress or illness, including sun burns, skin cancers and heat stroke.
The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) wants to help keep pups safe this summer with tips to protect dogs from the heat. Remember, dogs can't expel heat as well as humans can, so be sure to follow these tips to make sure your dog stays cool this summer.
1. Never leave your dog in the car. Ever. Temperatures can rise as much as twenty degrees inside a vehicle in ten minutes, and can reach up to 115 degrees - when the outside temperature is only 70! Leave your dog at home instead, your pup will thank you.
2. Make sure your dog has access to water at all times. As temperatures get hotter, it's important for your dog to have water available. If your dog's water bowl is left in the sun for a while, replace it with fresh, cold water that will cool your dog down.
3. Make sure your dog has access to shade. This is especially important if your dog is going to be outside for an extended period of time. Remember, dogs can get sunburned, too.
4. Walk your pet during the cooler hours of the day. "Pets shouldn't be exercised during the peak hours when the sun is hottest," says Dr. Mitsie Vargas, Veterinarian. "Dogs can't dissipate heat as well as we can."
5. When walking, try to avoid hot surfaces. As roads, trails and sidewalks become hot, they can burn your dog's paws. Plan a route with lots of shade, and let your dog walk on cooler surfaces like grass.
6. Prevent pesky parasites. Summer is the high season for fleas, ticks and heartworms. Talk to your Veterinarian about the best way to keep your dog free of parasites.
7. Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats. Dogs are basically wearing a fur coat 24/7, which can be extremely hot during the summer months. Giving your dog a trim will help keep him or her cool.
For more information, visit www.avma.org.