Keeping Your Dog Happy & Healthy During Summer

iStock_000022568055SmallEvery season presents unique challenges for taking care of your furry friend, and the dog days of summer are no exception. Man’s best friend is more susceptible to the summer sun than you may think, so here’s a few ways to keep your dog healthy and happy during these summer months.

Keep them cool. According to US News Health and Wellness, dogs and cats have a baseline body temperature of 100 to 102 degrees, and their organs begin to shut down at 106 degrees. This delicate temperature window can be upset easily, especially with senior dogs, or dogs that have a short snout or are flat-faced (like bulldogs and pugs). Hyperthermia can occur — leading to lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, coma, and even death. Here are a few simple steps to keeping them cool and refreshed:

  • Make sure they are hydrated. Other than always making sure they are drinking water, try setting out a kiddie pool or sprinkler for them to splash in if you are going to be outside.
  • Provide them with shade. Although some pets do have their favorite sunny spot to sleep in, air on the side of caution and draw the shades on the windows if they are going to be in that type of area.
  • If you’re hot, they’re hotter. Use this as a rule of thumb: if it’s too hot for you to hang outside, it’s not good for your dog either. The same goes for walks — if your feet can’t take walking around barefoot on the hot pavement, then your dog’s paws can’t either. Try going for walks in the morning or evening to avoid the sun when it is high in the sky.

Don’t leave them in a parked car. According to research from San Francisco State University, the internal temperature of a car can rise 19 degrees from what it already was in only 10 minutes. Don’t risk your furry friend’s life while you go shopping. Instead, make sure the car is cooled down in advance, parked in the shade, and that you are not gone for more than 5-10 minutes. Or play it safe, leaving them with a trusted friend or family member and away from the sauna that is an automobile in the sun.

Slather them with sunscreen. Humans aren’t the only ones at risk for being burned; pets are too, particularly dogs with light or white hair. Dogs tend to get burned on the bridge of their nose, their groin area, the tips of their ears, and on their bellies. To avoid this, invest in some pet-specific sunscreen. Dr. Patrick Mahaney recommends Epi-Pet Sun Protector Sunscreen, as it is the only product currently on the market that meets the FDA’s standards. Otherwise, keep your pets confined to shady areas.

Exercise with caution. Of course you want your pet to be healthy, but a summertime fitness program can sometimes harm your pet more than help them if you aren’t careful. First, schedule a check-up appointment with us to make sure your furry friend is in the clear for a summertime exercise regimen. After you get the okay, make sure you give your pet a break every 15 minutes with shade and hydration while exercising. If your pet is ever hesitant to continue, do not force them.

Take care of them while traveling. If your pet is co-piloting your summer roadtrip, plan on making extra stops. Being cooped up in a car is disorienting for your pet, and it’s vital you give them a chance to stretch and exercise. It is also important to keep your pet hydrated with lots of cold water. recommends throwing a lot of ice cubes into a cooler or even individual food containers, so they always have a cold water supply. And, of course, don’t forget to pack some toys to keep them entertained!

Animal Wellness Center of Monee offers check-ups for your summer pet pal, and would be happy to talk about any seasonal issues or other questions you may have. Please call us at (708) 534-2200 for more information.

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