All of us at Portsmouth Veterinary Clinic are glad summer is here! If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog and cat. This is an easy way to keep their health in mind as the temperature increases.
Please: NEVER leave your dog (or cat) in the car during the summer. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise to nearly 30 degrees above the outdoor temperature in less than half an hour.
Know the Signs of Dehydration
Dogs and cats need plenty of fluids during the summer because they can suffer from dehydration and heat stroke, just like humans. Signs of dehydration include gums that feel tacky to the touch, or skin that is slow to return to its natural position when pulled up. If you take your dog outside (or if you have an outdoors cat), by keeping them cool, by providing a space that is well ventilated, and by supplying plenty of fresh water, you can prevent dehydration and heat stroke.
Outdoor Activities With Your Dog:
Swimming in a lake or pool is a great way for your dog to cool off and get some exercise at the same time. If you have a pool, or spend time at one with your dog, always provide supervision and be sure to train him or her how to get out of the water safely. Also, a quick ear cleaning after each swim will help prevent infections from water that becomes trapped in the ear canal.
Please keep your dog away from the barbeque grill.
We know it is fun to bring dogs along for hikes, jogs, walks, or even just for some time to relax in the park. Please be sure to take proper precautions to prevent the common dangers of summer heat and sun:
- Limiting activity outside to a time before 10 AM or after 4 PM will protect your dog from the sun during the part of the day when it is at its hottest.
- On particularly hot days, check the pavement with your hand before allowing your dog to walk on it. If it is too hot to leave your hand on for more than a few seconds, it will burn your dog’s feet.
- Take breaks in the shade, give your dog plenty of fresh water (not too cold, dramatic changes in body temperature are dangerous), and make sure the space your dog is in is well ventilated.
- Don’t allow your dog to drink from puddles in pavement, they may contain harmful chemicals.
- Apply sunscreen to areas where your dog has only a thin layer of hair or none at all (i.e., nose, belly, ears)
- Use aloe to treat light sunburns, for anything more serious please call us.
- Also, be sure to allow your dog to take breaks in the shade.
- Don’t forget that sunblock is as essential for a dog as they it is for us. While dogs with thicker coats have natural protection from the sun on most of their bodies, areas with less or no hair—the ears, nose, or underside of the belly—will need a layer of sunblock to be adequately protected from sunburn. If your dog has been burned, aloe can provide relief in mild cases, but call us if the condition is more severe.
Regular Grooming is Important During the Summer
Regular grooming can also help your dog stay cool through the removal of excess undercoat. Cutting your dog’s fur shorter is another option, but as mentioned before, any spots that are thin with hair should be protected with sunscreen.
Enjoy The Summer With Your Pets!
While there are many dangers brought on by summer, this should not deter you from having outdoor fun with your dog. By being sensitive to both your dog’s and cat’s needs and taking necessary precautions, as well as looking out for any potential warning signs there should not be anything to worry about. Enjoy the warm weather together!