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Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

The dog days of summer can be a great time of year, filled with outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy. Unfortunately, these days can also be a source of discomfort or danger for our furry family members. Knowing how to care for your pet in the summer heat will help you safely enjoy the warmer weather together.

Though each breed has its own set of unique characteristics, all dogs share a similar reaction to heat making them equally susceptible to heat related discomforts and problems. Unlike their human owners, dogs do not have sweat glands throughout their body. Instead, canines rely on panting and the release of sweat through their foot pads as a means to cope with heat. Help your dog maintain a healthy body temperature in the summer months with these simple tips:

1 Never let the dog dish run dry. Whether you’re inside or outside, make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water available to avoid dehydration and help maintain a healthy body temperature. Keep an eye on the water dish and replenish as needed. If you have more than one pet you may want to add an additional water bowl during warmer temperatures.

2 Leave Fido home. Most dogs love a car ride, but when the temperatures are soaring, the inside of your car could reach 150 degrees in a matter of minutes. Leaving the window down or parking in the shade will do little to keep the temperatures from rising so leave your dog at home if he or she will be in a warm unattended vehicle for any period of time.

3 Play it cool. Frozen or freezable dog toys can take fun to the next, much cooler level. Need a spur of the moment frozen solution? Get creative and freeze some sturdy toys in water or chicken broth and let your pooch lick their way to a little piece of frozen heaven.

4 Take it easy. Your dog needs regular exercise but on exceptionally hot days try to limit vigorous exercise or activity. Bring a quick running pace down to a leisurely stroll or chop a few blocks off your regular walk. Keep in mind that even a brief walk can become painful when asphalt and concrete temperatures rise, increasing the risk of burned or uncomfortable paws.

5 Be sun savvy. Did you know that dogs can get sunburned? Dogs with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. Check with your vet for the best sun screen options for your pet.

6 Know the signs. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can become very serious very quickly. If your dog or cat is experiencing heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue , he or she may be suffering from heat related illness. Immediately remove them from the heat and apply cool water, ice packs or cold towels to bring down the body temperature. Keep an eye on your pet and contact your vet or emergency veterinarian assistance to prevent complications or death.

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