Vet Blog

5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Summer Heat

May 29, 2019
5 tips to keep your dog safe in the summer heat

With the record-breaking temperatures that summer has already brought, it's important to remember that your dog is susceptible to many different heat-related injuries.

Heat stroke or exhaustion, burnt paw pads, sunburn, and dehydration are all conditions that may affect your dog this summer due to rising temperatures. We've put together 5 tips for you to ensure your dog's safety in this hot weather:

  1. Check the Pavement Before You Go for a Walk - Place your hand against the pavement for 10 seconds. If it's too hot for your skin to make contact with for that long, then it's too hot for your dog's paws. Remember that it's always hotter on the pavement than the outside temperature. If it's 80° outside, it will feel like 100° on the pavement.

  2. Give Your Dog a Lightweight Haircut - A haircut will help prevent your dog from overheating during the summer. Remember not to completely shave your dog because they need at least a 1" layer of protection to avoid getting sunburnt.

  3. Make Sure They Have Ample Water and Shade - When they're outside, make sure they have a covering to limit exposure to the sun. A tarp or tree shade would be perfect to cover your furry friend so it doesn't block airflow! This should go without saying, but always make sure your dog has water available. Whether they're indoor or outdoor dogs, they need to stay hydrated.

  4. Do Not Leave Your Pet in the Car - Even if you roll down the windows, if the temperature outside is 85° then it could reach 102° within 10 minutes and 120° after 30 minutes. If they're left in there for too long, they could suffer from heat stroke and potentially die. Click here to see tips on how to help a pet left inside a hot car.

  5. Limit Activities on Hot Days - When the temperature rises, the duration and intensity of your daily exercise should decrease. Try to go for your walks or runs early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the peak heat during the day. Water-related activities are perfect for dogs in the summer to keep them cool and active!

Here are some potential warning signs of heat exhaustion in your pet:

  • Panting

  • Rapid Heart Rate

  • Dizziness or Lack of Coordination

  • Vomiting or Diarrhea

  • Glazed Eyes

  • Excessive Drooling

  • Blue or Bright Red Tongue or Gums

  • Loss of Consciousness

At the first signs of overheating, immediately take action to cool down your dog. Bring them inside and offer them fresh, cool water. We recommend taking your dog to the vet as soon as possible to prevent any damage that could be done due to heat stroke. If you believe your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion or stroke, call us at (904) 223-4360 to let us know you are on the way. Once here, one of our doctors will be able to treat your furry friend with fluids, cooling methods, and any medication needed to restore function to the potentially damaged organs.