The dog days of summer are here and that means it’s time to brush up on safety tips to keep furry family members safe throughout the season. Every year, emergency rooms across the country receive many cases in which dogs and cats are suffering from heat stroke, dehydration or burned paws. Alessandra Navidad, president and CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League, shares tips for pet owners to protect their dogs from the Arizona heat, all summer long.
SPF for Your Pup
Skin cancer affects pets just as it does humans. The UV rays from prolonged sun exposure can cause skin damage, sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer. The likelihood of skin cancer and sunburns are higher in pets with white or light-colored coats. Owners who live in particularly sunny areas or have pets that love to sunbathe should apply pet-friendly sunscreen on their pets. Dogs can wear an SPF 30 that is fragrance free and gloopy style. Pet stores offer a variety of safe, non-toxic options, and most baby sunscreens are also gentle enough to be safe for dogs.
No pool? No problem! Dogs can enjoy the water with a kiddie pool. Kiddie pools cost about $20 and will be the best money you ever spent on your dog. This is also a great form of activity where your dog can cooldown and have a fun, mentally-stimulating exercise after being indoors all day. Some tricks to show your dog how to have fun in the pool include cutting up apple slices and throwing them into the water or creating floating ice cube treats using kibble and water.
Avoid Walking Your Dog During the Day
During the Arizona summer, pet owners should only walk their dogs before sunrise. Sunset or evening walks could be risky since the pavement absorbs a tremendous amount of heat from the grueling Arizona sun. Dogs should only spend time outside for short 10- to 15-minute bathroom breaks. The problem with walking or exercising during the hottest time of the day is that you risk not reaching home fast enough to cool your dog down if you see warning signs of heat stroke. If you must travel with your pet, consider putting protective shoes on your dog’s feet to prevent blisters and burning.
Check the Pavement Before Walking
If you place your hand on asphalt or concrete for five seconds and it is too hot for you, then it is most likely too hot for your dog. Do not rely on your dog to tell you if the ground is too hot because it can cause cracking and damage to its paws. Before going on a walk, add some paw balm to prevent cracking and pain.
Pet owners need to drink as much water as possible during Arizona summer months. Dogs need approximately one ounce of water per pound of body weight on a typical day. American Kennel Club recommends puppies to drink more water than dogs because it “facilitates the metabolic processes,” such as brain activity and digestion.
The best treatment for heatstroke is prevention. Limit the time your dog works or exercises in hot weather. Choose cooler periods of the day for training and exercise sessions. Provide plenty of cool, fresh water, shade and frequent rest periods when it’s hot. Nothing beats canine companionship on vacations and in the great outdoors. As a responsible dog owner, you can ensure that your summer with your best friend will be enjoyable for both of you.