In my household, dogs are part of the family. Belle, our curious Weimaraner, and Orion, the energetic bull terrier mix, even went on the honeymoon with the hubby and I. Our dogs are always at our sides.
So it's no surprise that when the mercury climbs, I'm very aware of how the heat and summer weather affect my pups. Today I'm happy to share several tips for keeping your canine cool and healthy during the dog days of summer.
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.
Ward off Pests
I know how much I hate swatting at mosquitos during summer evenings on the patio. I can only imagine what it's like for my dogs as they roll around in the grass during warm weather. 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
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 much 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.
Spray on Sunscreen
When Orion first joined our family, we giggled every time he rolled on his back to expose his light pink tummy speckled with gray freckles. It's so darn cute. He loves to spend hours at a time outdoors in the warm weather, so I've quickly learned his delicate skin can get a sunburn. To prevent this, I limit his time outside or use pet-approved sunscreen to keep him 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.
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 the pet 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 sand can cause pulled muscles.
Offer a Self-Watering Bowl
Whether your pet lives outside or just plays in the yard, he should always have water available. During the summer water evaporates quickly, so consider investing in a self-watering bowl that refills continually.
We use a 2.5 gallon waterer for our dogs to ensure they always have access to clean water. Since the bowl replenishes with water from the enclosed reservoir, we know it's always fresh.
Keep Dogs in Cars Safe
When we have free time, the hubby and I like to head to the local state park for a hike with Belle and Orion. But to get there, we have to drive. We take the top off the Jeep and clip the dogs into their car harnesses. They love sniffing the air and letting their long ears flap in the wind.
I'm thankful my husband's auto insurance coverage includes pets. If we were to get in an accident during one of these outings, the policy allows for veterinary care for the dogs. Does your auto insurance cover your pets? Talk with a Trusted Choice® independent agent about insurance options to keep your pets safe this summer. After all, you want every member of your family to be safe, right?