Woof! Wouf! Hello! I am Rufus Woofman, the newly hired dog correspondent and journalist here at UDog LLC in New York. As the calendar turns to July, and the temperature heats up, dog owners everywhere are probably eager to take their dogs out for a walk or a swim. However, take it from me, us dogs don’t always like the hot weather. Humans can choose to wear coats when they are cold, but dogs can’t simply choose to take off our fur coats whenever we want to, so we are extra sensitive to extreme heat. In this post, I will advise my human friends and give you several tips on how to protect your canine companions this summer.
Make sure your dog is properly hydrated
Baarrrk! This is a big one! Dogs need lots of water, just like humans, especially if we are outside in the heat and sun for a long time. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water for us, or we will get dehydrated and become much more likely to get sick.
2. Walk your dogs at times of day when the sun is less strong
Luckily for us, the summer means that it will be daytime for a long period of time. It will get bright out early in the morning, and can stay light outside up until eight or nine PM. Don’t choose to walk us, or have a catch with us at 1:00 on a bright sunny day when you can walk us in the morning or the evening instead. It will expose both of us to more extreme heat and radiation. That said, if you do choose to let us out in the middle of the afternoon, there are things you can do to mitigate the effects.
3. Ask your veterinarian about sunscreen for your dog
Dogs with thinner coats are more likely to be exposed to harmful UV radiation. If your dog has a thinner coat, consider applying sunscreen to your dog before taking him or her for a walk. If your dog has a thicker coat, consider shaving them if they are showing signs of being uncomfortable in the heat.
4. Protect us from fleas and other bugs
We don’t like them either! Look up mosquito repellents for dogs, flea repellents for dogs, and more bugspray options. If you are taking us on a hike in the woods, or just an evening walk on a buggy night, this is going to come in handy! Even some oils can do the trick, such as basil, thyme, cinnamon oil, and peppermint.
5. Keep your dog nice and shady
If you’re leaving us outside for awhile because of that one friend of yours who is allergic to dogs(cough Jake cough), make sure to find a shady place for us. We’ll be much cooler and more relaxed there, I can tell you that from experience! An ice pack or wet towel to lay on would be nice of you as well!(cough Alexa)
6. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR
Do I really need to explain this one to humans? Would you leave your best friend in the car? Your family? I didn’t think so.
7. Know the signs if something is wrong
Dog's body temperatures are a bit hotter than that of humans, so there is no need for panic unless a dog’s temperature gets above 103 degrees. That said, look for signs of dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue. Contact your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of heatstroke, serious dehydration, or anything else you are concerned about.
We still want you to walk us and play with us, don’t get me wrong. Just make sure to take the necessary precautions so we can have fun and stay safe. From your friendly neighborhood retriever, have a great summer!
Rufus C. Woofman
Editor’s Note- Mr. Woofman is a former contributor to the Chicago Dog Tribune, and the St. Louis Retriever. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and has a graduate journalism degree at Northwestern. He is an avid fan of frisbee, chewing on toys, and the Georgia Bulldogs.
More info is available at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/summer.aspx