What do you do to protect your dogs from the summer heat? While summer has been upon us for over a month now, in many parts of the country we are just getting into the worst of the summer heat. In our area, July through early September can be some of the worst, with temperatures staying in the 90s or above. For humans and pets alike, these temperatures can not only be quite miserable, but actually dangerous as well! Having two dogs bred for cold weather, we especially understand the dangers of the heat and constantly worry about our dogs.
Like all dog owners, we do everything we can during the summer to protect our dogs from the summer heat. While we have had dogs for years, it doesn’t hurt to have a checklist of things to remind yourself and your family what you need to do to keep dogs and cats alike safe throughout the summer. Some of the most important things you can do to protect your dogs from the summer heat include:
- Access to Fresh Water
While this may seem like common sense, most dogs don’t have access to enough water throughout the day, making it impossible for them to drink enough. Considering going with a fountain like the Drinkwell Everflow Indoor/Outdoor Fountain, which constantly refills itself and circulates filtered water to make sure your pet always has access to clean water.
- Access to Cooling Methods
Along with water, you should have other ways for your pet to cool themselves. This can be as simple as having ice in water or even cold treats you can make at home for your dog to make sure they are staying cool inside and out!
- Access to Shade & Weather Outdoors
When dogs are outside, they should always have access to shade. If you don’t have trees or man-made shade (like large umbrellas) outdoors for your dog, don’t forget that dog houses are fairly inexpensive. Even dogs that spend most of their time indoors love having somewhere fun to relax indoors. If they’re outside often enough, you might even build your own doghouse!
- Protect from Burns
One of the largest dangers outside to dogs (and humans) is the sun. Contrary to what many people believe, dogs can get sunburns. Places that should regularly have sunscreen include your dog’s nose, belly, ears, and groin. If your dog is shaved, however, they should have sunscreen anywhere that has skin showing. Like us, they can get serious sunburns and even, over time, skin cancer! As well, don’t forget that their eyes need protection like ours. We have regularly used Doggles in the past with our own dogs.
Another place many people don’t consider when it comes to burns are paws. To the surprise of many dog owners, paw pads, while not terribly sensitive, can be seriously burned on hot asphalt. To give you an idea of how dangerous it can be, on an 87 degree summer day, the pavement outside can be as hot as 143 degrees – more than enough to burn with just a few seconds of contact. To protect your dog’s paws, purchase boots or shoes for your dogs that can withstand high temperatures. While there are quite a few brands out there, we personally use Ruffwear Summit Trex since they are designed for extreme hot and cold temperatures, of which we see both throughout the year.
- Regular Grooming
Even though many people think of grooming as a winter thing, it is actually just as important during the summer months. Dogs should be regularly brushed to get rid of loose fur, which can impair a dog’s ability to regulate heat. While some dogs can be shaved, also make to speak to your veterinarian first, since some breeds should never be shaved (mostly double-coated dogs like Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies).
- Never Leave Pets Alone Outdoors
During the summer months, the temperature can rise very quickly and become dangerous for dogs. With humidity and air temperature combined, it is very easy to dogs to suffer from heat exhaustion or a heat stroke – just like people outside in extreme heat and humidity. Even outdoor dogs should be in a partly protective environment, where they can be in shade and out of the heat.
- Never Leave Dogs in a Car
While this may seem like common sense, dogs are still dying all over the country from being locked in hot cars. As a rule of thumb, no matter what season, dogs should NEVER be left in a car alone during the day, even with the windows cracked. The American Veterinary Medical Association actually has some rather frightening statistics when it comes to temperatures in cars. For example, the inside of a car, on a 70 degree day can get up to 104 degrees in just 30 minutes! Just imagine how hot it would be on a 90+ degree days?
Though we may have the best intentions and plans, sometimes emergencies do happen, even if you follow the steps above. This is one the reasons why it is crucial for pet parents to know the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat emergencies do happen and if you suspect your pet is having a heat emergency, call your veterinarian immediately or take your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic. Dogs and cats both die from heat exhaustion and heat stroke each year, so make sure you are prepared before a situation happens.
With the right amount of preparation though, it is easy to have a safe, wonderful summer with dogs and cats alike. Also, don’t forget that like kids, there are hundreds of different water toys for dogs and many love kids’ swimming pools! So, what do you do to keep your pets safe from the summer heat?
Disclosure: Budget Earth did not receive monetary compensation for this post and it is for educational purposes only. This post may also include affiliate links. All opinions are my own honest assessment, and may differ from our readers’ opinions.
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michele soyer says
I knew most of these tips but reminding us of pet safety is always a plus.. Thank you for the post
Katie Miller says
I didn’t know dogs could get sun cancer and my dog loves to sun bathe too
Ronald Gagnon says
It is great to see someone as concerned and effective as your post..we have 2 goldens and have followed these suggestions almost totally
My family followed most of these tips for our doggy. Thanks for the reminder.
we have a dog. but it stays in most of the time.
This is good information – I wish vets, etc., would promulgate this info more often! Thanks for posting!
Laurie P says
Dogs in cars…..people are mad to do that!! For the first time I witnessed this and I stood by the car and waiting for the owner who acted like I’m the one who was insane.
Gloria Walshver says
My dog loves the outdoors in the summer,we make sure no outdoors when it gets very hot.
justin tan says
All great tips!! Just like human, dogs need to get hydrated too!! lots of water always help!!
Judy Thomas says
Great tips. Thank you. It should be mandatory for all pet owners to learn these.
Janice Dean says
Thanks for sharing these important ideas!
Geri Sandoval says
We forget about our dog sometimes, just because they are outside doesn’t mean they don’t needs extra care in the summer. I don’t know dogs could get sun cancer, thanks for the post.
belinda bell says
Love the tips. And we have the little boots too.
Li Hall says
Our FD helped us with a stray we found, they poured high % rubbing alcohol on his body all over. As it evaporated it cooled his body down, not too fast and not too slow. Saved his life. Thanks for all the tips!
gale mccarron says
I had no idea that they got sunburned, but now it. makes sense. Great tips listed. Thanks!
Heather Amos says
Great tips for those with dogs. Thanks for sharing.
Rachel Dean says
This is great advice. I don’t have boots for my babies…I guess I need some.
I guess if the dog is outdoors, those are good tips. I imagine the heat is hard on them.
Brenda Saball says
Well written with lots of good information. We are having some exceptionally hot weather this summer in Maine.
Jenna Hudson says
Thanks for all the reminders and spreading awareness. Many people aren’t aware that the pavement can be to hot for paws.
Jeanna Massman says
Thanks for the reminder! We need to be mindful of our pets welfare!
Sarah L says
The heat has been hard on me lately and I don’t even have fur covering my body.
All of these are great instructions to follow, especially monitoring their water. It is so so important to make sure their water bowl is filled. Yesterday was very hot and my girls couldn’t get enough water. I had to check all throughout the day.
Jerry Marquardt says
I really appreciate these nice tips and pointers to ensure the safety of out loved pets this summer. Your blog is most useful everyday to help everyone out with great advice.
Hannah C says
Very great and practical tips. I feel so bad for dogs when people leave them in the hot the car.
shannon fowler says
mine is adamant he won’t go out till its dark out. we started him with swim classes though, and he seems to do well with those. our dogs are our babies, so thanks for the helpful tips
These are so important! We live in Texas so it’s always VERY hot. We have to make sure our fur-babies don’t stay outside too long during the summer.
monique s says
There are great and important tips to keep our furry friends safe in summer
Michelle Orr says
I was not aware that pets could get skin cancer as well. Great tips on keeping pets safe during the hot summer months
melody hodge says
I love making frozen dog treats for my dogs. we have 5 rescue animals and they love running and playing but I think they love the cooling off part with my frozen dog treats.
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says
These are some good tips. I don’t have a dog, but I will let others know!
Kimberly Flickinger says
These are excellent tips as our fur babies are just as sensitive to the heat as we are.
Lorna Patrick says
I love that you are reminding us of all these tips!!! Thank you!!
Nancy Burgess says
Great information to have thanks for sharing.
Lauryn R says
These are all great tips for keeping your dog safe during the hot summer months! It makes me so sad to hear neighbors dogs barking all day long because they aren’t allowed in. It really angers me to see dogs in the back of a car in a parking lot, it’s so ignorant and abusive. 🙁
Sheila M. says
Great ideas and thanks for educating people to be responsible pet owners. I can’t stand it when I hear of a pup left in a hot car or tied to a tree with no water.
Melissa J says
This is a handy informative list. Thank you for sharing
Rachel Beltz says
I feel like number 7 should be obvious. It kills me when I see this happen. Why would you leave anything living in a hot car alone. Thank you for the information!
Darren Scrubb says
Good information to remind people how to properly take care of their dog.
Ronald Gagnon says
Great information for all dog owners..we have 2 Goldens and follow your suggestions totally
Nena Sinclair says
Every pet owner or animal lover should read this, it’s very valuable information! Too many people don’t realize how hard it is on their pets being left in the sun without access to shelter and water. Also, way too many pets being left in hot cars. I’m constantly putting out fresh water for the neglected cats and dogs to at least get some hydration. Even birds come by for a drink or a dip!
My Sophia just got her own fan and I carry her out to grass. I take her out only at dark if it’d possible, she uses potty pads during daylight. I have my moms well water for her to drink, and she is drinking way more water..even she knows city water is gross and bleach-y.
Cathy Armato says
Great post Susan! I love these tips and follow most of them myself. This year I got a cooling mat for my Husky, Icy. It’s fantastic and she loves it!
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
Susan Bewley says
We LOVE cooling mats! I actually wish I could have found one big enough for our trip to Phoenix! Is Icy coming to BlogPaws next year? I so want to meet her!
Sue E says
Thanks for these tips!! I am on top of the cool fresh water, the shade idea – I’ve even brought an umbrella on our walks. But I have never known or thought about the sunscreen aspect. What a great idea!!! I wonder if other pet owners know this? I always thought that their fur protected them. I cannot believe that pet owners keep their furry friends in a hot car!! It doesn’t take a book or pamphlet to tell you something that you should already know!!