Dogs and Warm Weather – 7 Tips to Help Keep Them Safe

With the warmer weather usually comes the desire to do more outdoor activities with our dogs. After all, this is a great part of the joy of having a canine best friend. Warmer weather also brings its own kinds of hazards for our furry friends. Here are some tips to help keep your best friend safe. Dogs and Warm Weather-7 Tips to Help Keep Them Safe

1. Always provide fresh water and, if outdoors, good shade. Water, important all year around, is especially important in warm and hot weather. A shady place for protection from the sun's heat is also vital for a pet's health and safety.

2. Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car in the shade is 90 degrees. In the sun, the temperature can reach 160 degrees in minutes. On a much milder day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside the vehicle can quickly shoot up over 100 degrees.

3. Cookouts are fun for everyone, and the smell of food cooking is enticing to dogs. Keep pieces of foil, plastic, foam containers, bones, and hot foods out of your pet's reach. These can cause injuries to his or her mouth and internal lacerations or blockages if swallowed. Chicken bones and others that splinter are especially dangerous. Keep a close eye on the grill-snatching a bite of food may be too tempting, and serious burns as well as overturned grills can result.

4. Lawnmowers and outdoor tools pose serious serious dangers for pets. Lawnmower blades can not only cause irreparable damage to body parts, but can throw rocks or debris which can cause serious injuries. Other power tools and even simple garden tools can also cause injury if licked or stepped on in the wrong way. Keep pets indoors or safe in another area when these tools are being used.

5. Life jackets are a must if your dog goes boating with you. Even the strongest swimmer can become fatigued and drown. Be sure that the life jackets are Coast Guard approved and fit your dog properly. Always put them on your dog before you even leave the shore.

6. Bug bites are a common problem in warmer weather. Watch for allergic reactions if your dog is bitten. These can cause breathing difficulty, which is a veterinary emergency.

7. Walk and play in early morning or early evening in hotter weather to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Take water and a bowl with you on long walks, so your dog (and you) can stay hydrated.

Dogs enjoy being outdoors with us, and they often do not know when it's time to rest. Be alert for any signs of heat stroke in your pet. These include excessive panting, weakness, collapse, and unusual actions or reactions.

If your pet does suffer heat stroke, immediately move him or her to a cool location. Using a fan to circulate the air, giving the dog fresh water to drink, and letting the dog rest under close observation may be all that is required for mild cases. For more severe heat stroke, begin to bring down the external temperature by placing the dog in tepid or slightly cool water, making sure to keep his head out of the water, and call your veterinarian. Never ever give your dog ice or ice water. This causes the internal organs to cool down too fast and cause serious or life-threatening conditions. Anything more than mild heatstroke requires immediate veterinary attention.

Our dogs love to be with us, and they can provide great pleasure and companionship. With attention to a few things that will help to keep them safe, we can all enjoy outdoor activities together any time of year.