7 Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Cool and Healthy in the Summer Heat

(Just imagine how you'd feel with all of that fur. Blech...)
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Dogs are really the whole family's best friend, not just man's. They love to be by your side, play and go everywhere you do. So when the summer mercury climbs, it's important to be very aware of how the heat and summer weather affect your pups. 

Let's go over a few key tips and summer cooling hacks to keep them healthy and happy.

Tip #1: Use Paw Protection

Have you ever stepped outside with bare feet to grab the mail or say hello to a visitor on a hot summer day? Ouch! Brick, cement, and even wood surfaces can get extremely hot to the touch.

Now imagine taking your dog for a walk in those conditions. While your feet are protected by shoes, the pads on your dog's paws are drying out and possibly suffering burns, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association .

Use moisturizing paw balm to soothe sore summer paws and dog booties to keep feet protected. On really hot summer days, take the dog for a walk around your local pet-friendly store or opt for a play date at an indoor pet daycare facility to beat the heat.

Tip #2: Ward off Pests

You know how bad mosquitoes and flies can be for everyone during those hot summer evenings on the patio. Well, the same goes for dogs, too. Especially when they're rolling around in the grass. Reduce your dog's risk of illness spread by insects by using preventive medications and spot treatments, suggests the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals .
Summer pests include:

  • Mosquitoes that spread heartworm
  • Fleas, flies and gnats that bite and leave painful welts
  • Ticks that spread Lyme disease

Tip #3: Try Cooling Mats

For dogs that spend their days outdoors, offer cooling comforts. You already know a canopy over a kennel or dog house provides shade. But you can go one step further and offer your favorite pooch a cooling mat. These work a lot like an electric blanket, but instead of getting warm, they cool the surface of the waterproof mat. If you don't have access to an electrical outlet outdoors, elevated mesh dog hammocks can also be breezy during summer.

Tip #4: Spray-On Sunscreen

Despite being covered by so much fur, dogs still have easily exposed, and very sensitive, skin. And sunburns can hit them pretty hard, too. To prevent this, limit your dog's time outside or use pet-approved sunscreen to keep him/her safe.

Apply pet sunscreen to the dog's nose, ears, and areas of thinning fur around the muzzle using a cotton ball. Never use a spray-on product near a dog's face. For the belly and legs, a light mist of the product directly from the bottle is safe.

Tip #5: Monitor Beach Activities

Sure, running on the beach with your furry friend at your side is relaxing. But summer seaside fun can become dangerous for pets. Don't let your dog drink sea water on a hot summer day. Instead, pack bottled water and a portable bowl to keep them hydrated. And keep dogs out of waters infested with jellyfish. They can sting pets, despite their thick, furry coats.

After a day of seaside adventures:

  • Give your dog a bath to remove sea lice and saltwater residue.
  • Examine the skin for any signs of sunburn or stings.
  • Watch for limping, since the extra strain of running in the sand can cause pulled muscles.

Tip #6: Offer a Self-Watering Bowl

Whether your pet lives outside or just plays in the yard, they should always have water available. During the summer, water evaporates quickly, so consider investing in a self-watering bowl that refills continually. This helps make sure your dog is always drinking fresh, muck-free water.

Tip #7: Keep Dogs in Cars Safe

If your dog is in the car, always leave the windows rolled down a bit. Fresh air is important as the sun beats down on those hot days.
Also, many auto insurance policy's have coverage that includes pets. So if you were to get in an accident while you're on your way to the dog park, your policy will help cover veterinary care for your pups. Does your current auto insurance cover your pets? Talk with your independent insurance agent about insurance options to keep your pets safe this summer. After all, you want every member of your family to be safe, right?

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