Even if your dog is a tough little dude, soaring temperatures are never his friend. It's your job to help him stay cool. With that in mind, avoiding the things you should never do with your dog on extremely hot days is a great start. Remember, your buddy is experiencing all that heat in a fur coat, so it's a little more intense for him.
In general, if you're uncomfortable in the warm weather, your dog is feeling it even more. Overall, dogs can overheat more easily than people, as noted by veterinarian Marty Becker in VetStreet. Your furry friend can overdo it in the summer heat, increasing the risk of heat stroke. Because you'd rather spend the summer enjoying time with your dog, and not worrying about him at the vet, it's important to stay mindful of potentially dangerous activities in the heat. "Pets who are left in hot cars are the victims who usually make the most dramatic headlines, but the cases we see are usually the ones where pet owners are caught unaware," said Dr. Ian Kupkee, veterinarian at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic in Florida, in NBC Miami. You can accidentally put a dog at risk of overheating without any malicious intentions at all. Read on to learn what you should and should not do with your dog when the temperatures are soaring.
1. Walk On Hot Pavement
Thanks to the luxury of shoes, people aren't always aware of just how hot asphalt can get in the sun. But your dog does. In fact, the sun-soaked asphalt can reach temperatures of 125 degrees even if the outside air temperature is only 77 degrees, as explained in Pooch and Claws. If it's too hot for you to walk barefoot outside or hold your hand on the asphalt for very long, then it's too hot for your dog. Find a shaded trail or wait until it's cooler out for your walk.
2. Leave Him In A Car
As a responsible pet owner, you'd never dream of leaving your best friend alone in a car on a hot sunny day. But just to be clear, hot cars can turn deadly for your pup in almost no time. It takes only ten minutes for the interior of a car to reach 102 degrees, and this is on an 85 degree day, as noted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Even if you park in the shade or crack the window, a stopped car with no air conditioning can become dangerously hot in almost no time.
3. Shave Him
Just looking at all that dog fur can make you sweat in sympathy. It might feel like a fresh shave would feel good on your canine friend. However, dog's coats guard them against overheating and sunburn, as noted by the ASPCA. Skip the buzz cut for Fido.
4. Skip Grooming Entirely
Although a super close cut might not do your dog any favors, it's important to keep up with routine grooming. Regular brushing will help your dog's coat stay clean and fluffy, giving him a better defense against the heat, as noted in Doghealth. Hopefully getting rid of all that shedding fur will help your pal feel a little cooler.
5. Exercise Too Much
Don't let your dog overdo it in the workout department when the heat is intense. Only exercise your dog in the cooler early morning or evening hours on hot days, as noted by the Humane Society of The United States. Dogs can get too excited when they're playing and overheat.
6. Forego Sunscreen
Yes, some dogs benefit from sunscreen too. If your dog has a balding or minimal coat, for instance, then ask your vet about pet-approved sunscreen, as noted by the Best Friends Animal Society. Your buddy might need some sunscreen if his coat doesn't provide full coverage.
7. Put Him In A Truck Bed
Dogs may love trucks, but they aren't the best place to hang out in the heat. In general, truck beds can get super hot when temperatures are high, so they aren't a great place for dogs in the summer, as noted by the Best Friends Animal Society. If you have to go somewhere, let your buddy ride up front in the air conditioning.
8. Wear A Muzzle
Dogs cool down by panting, so you don't want to do anything that compromises that ability. Other than a greyhound muzzle, muzzles are inadvisable for dogs that are hot or exercising, as explained by Dr. Sherry Weaver in Cesar's Way. It compromises their cooling ability.
9. Go Without Water
Hydration is key for everyone, and that goes for your canine friend, too. Bring along water for your dog when you take a long walk or hike in the warmer temps, as noted in PetMD. Let your dog quench his thirst as often as he needs. By following this and other tips, your dog can stay cool as can be during the heat of the year.