The state of my out-of-control curly hair and the soaring temps make it official. We are smack in the middle of the dog days of summer!
Fun fact: These hot days are historically the period when Sirius, the dog star, rises before the sun – from July 3 to August 11th.
The ancient Greeks and Romans thought these dog days brought heat, drought, lethargy, fever, and bad luck. We just know that the days are hot and uncomfortable, for humans and dogs alike.
How can pet owners keep their pups cool, comfortable, and safe during these dog days of summer?
Summer safety tips for dogs
- Never leave your dog alone in a car, even with the windows open an inch or two. The temperature inside a car soars quickly, and this can be fatal to your pup. It’s also illegal in multiple states, including Maryland.
- Take walks early and/or late in the day.
- Be aware that concrete, asphalt and decking can get extremely hot and burn dogs’ tender paw pads. A good rule of thumb: Place the back of your palm on the surface; if you can’t leave it there for more than a few seconds, it’s too hot for your pooch.
- Make sure your dog has a shaded area to retreat to outside.
- Provide an unlimited supply of fresh water (but if a water bowl is outside, change frequently since mosquitos lay larva in standing water.)
- Protect your dog from parasites; give your dog heartworm and flea and tick preventatives monthly.
- Remember that while some summer foods are safe for dogs, some are definitely not. Strawberries and blueberries are fine…just be aware of choking hazards for small dogs, and cut off stems. Grapes may be refreshing treat for people, but they are toxic for dogs. For more information on summer ingredient safety, check this article from Petfinder.
- Familiarize yourself with signs of heatstroke, which include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Remove your dog from the hot environment and seek medical help immediately.
In addition to these summer safety tips for dogs, there’s one easy rule to follow: If it’s too hot for you to safely be outside, it’s too hot for your pet. Common sense and owner vigilance can keep your four-legged family member healthy through the dog days of summer and beyond!