We all want to make the best use of our too-short Nova Scotia summers, by getting outdoors as much as possible. Of course, it’s fun to share the best season with our furry friends, and bring them along on our wilderness and outdoorsy adventures.
Keep in mind that as much as you might love the sun, and the heat, your dog (and your cat) may not be able to tolerate the extremes, as you can.
Here are a few tips, to keep in mind, when it’s sunny, and hot…(once the rain stops!)
Reduce sun exposure: Sunscreen and sun protection are not just for you. Although dogs come with their own layer of sun-protecting hair, short-furred, and white haired critters, and those with light skin pigment (pink noses, ears) are most sensitive. Try picking up a sunscreen for animals (we sell a great one), to apply around the muzzle, ears, and on the belly, or where the skin is particularly thin.
Ensure clean, fresh water is always available- at all times. You can incorporate Fido or Fluffy’s favourite treats into your summer routine, by freezing broth, which provides a safe, yummy, cooling snack.
Modify your exercise routine: Dogs don’t know when to stop, so always supervise activity. Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, and monitor closely.
Keep him indoors: Some dog houses can trap heat, so dogs left outdoors should always have access to shade- which changes location over the course of a day. A safer option is to leave your dog indoors while you are away.
Watch out for heat stroke: Don’t let your pet overheat; animals are susceptible to heat stroke as well- obese and overweight animals are more at risk, and after or during exercise. The signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion can look similar in pets, as in humans:
- excessive panting
- being hot to the touch
- fast heartbeat
- red gums
- possible vomiting, and diarrhea
Ensure your pets stays cool, by keeping indoors during the hottest part of the day, providing drinking water, and not over-exercising. If your dog does present these symptoms, cool your dog down by placing cool wet towels on the dog, bringing out of the heat, hosing down, or using a fan. Contact your veterinarian for follow-up.
Protect brachycephalic dogs: Make sure your pug or bulldog are protected from extreme heat: Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds have an especially hard time panting, or relieving excess heat, due to their structural differences. Ensure that these guys don’t overheat.
Never leave your pet in the car. The temperature inside a car can reach almost 50 degrees Celsius, even with windows open.
Prevent burns: Watch out for hot pads on hot pavement (and sand!); again, you may need to reduce exposure by restricting the time and location of your walks (try natural soil, and shaded areas, when possible), try strolling in the evening, and on natural, light-coloured surfaces.
Follow these tips, and you and your animals can enjoy a fun, active, and safe summer!
By: Patti, RVT