AKC Tips for Pet Owners During the Holiday & Summer Heat

Summertime Tips from AKC As we head into the warmest month of the summer, the AKC offers the...

Summertime Tips from AKC

As we head into the warmest month of the summer, the AKC offers the following tips for keeping your canines cool:


4th of July Tips

  • It's a bad idea to take your dog to firework shows because they can startle at the loud noise and escape or injure themselves.

  • If you can hear fireworks from your home and your dog is getting scared, put your dog in a room where he is comfortable. If he is crate trained, a crate is a great secure area to keep him.


Out and About

  • Most importantly, make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24 hours a day. There are many inexpensive and collapsible bowls that you can take with you anywhere and refill at water fountains. If you are going to be out for a long period of time, freeze a bottle of water or bring ice cubes in a Tupperware container so you have cold water when you reach your destination.

  • Be aware that asphalt can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of your dog's paws. Your dog's entire body is much closer to the ground than yours. Try to walk your dog on the grass or dirt where it is cooler to keep them more comfortable.

  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle. When it's only 80 degrees outside, a car can heat up to over 120 degrees in just minutes and leaving a window open does little to prevent heat build-up. Many vets say that this is the most common cause of heat exhaustion.

  • Tying a dog outside a store while you run an errand is never a good idea, but is especially dangerous in the summer since he may be exposed to direct sunlight. If you cannot bring your dog inside the store, it's best to leave him home.

  • Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings when the heat and humidity is less intense. Remember that if your dog is spending most of it's time in air conditioning; the impact of the heat will be even stronger on them.

  • Many dogs like swimming to keep their body temperature down on the warmest days. Plastic baby pools work great because it gives your dog the option of just getting their toes wet or getting drenched from head to toe. Make sure you change the water on a daily basis to keep the water cool and clean.

  • Many dogs like swimming, but some cannot swim or may not like the water. Be conscious of your dog's preferences and skills before putting him in the water. Always supervise your pet while swimming. Dogs can become easily disoriented in swimming pools and may not be able to find the stairs.

  • Chlorine from pools and bacteria from streams, lakes and ponds can be toxic for a dog's system. Always rinse your dog with clean water after swimming and never let her drink water from these sources.


Cool Ideas

  • If you keep your dogs outside, it's critical that they have access to shade, and remember that dark colored dogs absorb more heat than dog with lighter colored coats. Doghouses are not good shelters during the summer as they can trap heat.

  • Dogs are outdoors more often during the summer, interacting with nature and other animals. Summer months are also prime time for ticks, fleas and mosquitoes, so make sure your dog's vaccinations are to up to date and that you are treating them with monthly preventatives.

  • There are various products that can help keep pets cool, such as fans that clip onto crates and mats with cooling crystals that stay up to 20 degrees below room temperate. These can be used as crate liners or as beds. Collars, vests and other items are also available. For an immediate and inexpensive option, try placing your dog on a wet towel on a concrete or tile floor in front of a fan or air conditioner.

  • Dogs do not sweat and their only means of reducing body heat is by panting. If you have a long-haired dog, consider keeping him trimmed during the summer months. But don't cut it too short or shave the dog-- his coat protects him from sunburn!


Heat Exhaustion 101

  • There are many factors which can make a dog more susceptible to heat exhaustion; physical condition, age, its coat type, breed and the climate it is most acclimated to. Very young and very old dogs are at the most risk. Short-nosed breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs are also at greater risk.

  • Symptoms of heat exhaustion or stroke can include excessive panting, disorientation and obvious paleness or graying to the gums due to a lack of oxygen. A dog's natural 102 degree body temperature should never exceed 105 degrees.

  • If you feel your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, act immediately by submerging her in cool water (not ice cold) or by placing ice packs on her neck. Once the dog has been stabilized get her to a vet.