Ah, summer. We look forward to it every year. The pool, the vacations, the sunshine. Unfortunately, our beloved dogs may not always feel the same way. The things we get excited about may cause our dogs great anxiety and discomfort. Is it possible to enjoy the season together?
The short answer: yes, as long as you ensure that their summertime needs are met. To keep your dog healthy and safe when the days are long and sun is scorching, here are a few must-dos:
Keep them HYDRATED.
Your dog always needs access to fresh, clean water. And in the late “dog days” of summer, they need a lot of it. Dehydration can come on quickly, with signs like excessive panting, lethargy, dry nose and gums, vomiting and diarrhea. So keep an eye on their water bowl, and keep it full and clean at all times. If you’re traveling with your dog, or even just going for a hike, be sure to pack a water bottle and bowl for them to take drinking breaks.
You can also add hydration by feeding your dog wet food. It’s very versatile. You can feed it alone, add a scoop to dry food, or give a spoonful as a treat. You can even freeze it in ice cube trays and serve as a frosty summer indulgence!
Keep them COOL.
It doesn’t take long for dogs to get dangerously overheated. A good rule of thumb is to consider how you would feel in each circumstance. If it was over 90 degrees and you were wearing a fur coat, how long would you last outside? Not long. Of course, some outside time is important, so plan accordingly. If the forecast calls for hot temps, walk your dog in the morning, stick to areas with some shade, and avoid hot pavement. If it’s too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s too hot for their paws as well.
Grooming also helps to keep them cool. Regular brushing removes loose fur and provides better air flow to the skin. Some breeds also benefit from a “summer cut” at a professional groomer. Keep in mind, however, that their coats help protect them from the sun, so dogs should never be shaved down to their skin.
Keep them CALM.
Fireworks, parties, houseguests, trips…they’re fun for us but not always for our dogs. You can help manage your dog’s anxiety by minimizing these stressors. When fireworks and loud noises are expected, keep your dog inside as much as possible in an enclosed space with comfort items, like their bed or toys. If you’re planning a trip without your dog, try to acclimate your dog to their temporary environment as much as possible. This could mean introducing them to their pet sitter or taking them to visit the kennel ahead of time.
Studies have also shown that supporting dogs’ gut bacteria with probiotics can help reduce anxiety. Treats like Dogswell® Gut Health Jerky are easy and delicious ways to get beneficial live probiotics and added fiber into your dog to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Keep them SAFE.
Summertime fun brings certain risks for dogs as well as humans. Always be sure that your dog is wearing a collar with tags in case an anxiety-inducing scenario, like fireworks, pops up unexpectedly and your dog goes into flight mode. If you’ll be around water and your dog isn’t a strong swimmer, have them wear a dog life vest. Not all dog breeds are natural swimmers, and some need the extra help. If your dog is outside a lot, check their skin and coat for ticks and fleas regularly, use a preventative medication, and keep Dogswell® Remedy & Recovery® first aid products on hand to treat bug bites and minor injuries.
Finally, one of the most important safety rules: NEVER leave your dog alone in a car, even with the windows open. This rule applies all year round, but it’s critical in the summer months. On a hot day, the inside of a car can reach a fatal temperature within ten minutes. So, if you’re heading out to run errands in your car, it’s best to leave your dog at home.
Keeping dogs well isn’t a one size fits all approach. Summers may be mild where you live, or maybe your dog isn’t very active. The point is, you know your dog best. So, pay close attention to their individual needs and environment, and enjoy the summer together!