Dog Days of Summer
*Cue Florence and the Pup-chine*
Summer is upon us and with that comes long sunny days. Whether you are spending the day at the beach, pool or a barbeque, nothing ruins a summer day like a sudden pet emergency. Discover the top summer safety tips we swear by to ensure your dog is healthy and happy all summer!
Pet owners are often surprised to learn that dogs are susceptible to sunburns, especially dogs with short or light colored hair like bulldogs, bull terriers, and Dalmatians. The most common areas for sunburns are the nose and head, but any skin exposed to the sun has the potential to burn. To protect your dog against the sun, apply baby sunscreen on your palms before rubbing it into your dog’s skin, taking special care to avoid the eyes and mouth. Be sure to reapply if your dog is spending a long time in the sun or will be swimming. For dogs prone to sunburns, we recommend reapplying sunscreen hourly. Always rinse your dog off at the end of the day to avoid eye and skin irritation.
Hot temperatures can have negative effects on dogs, primarily burned paws and heatstroke. If the ground is too hot for humans to walk barefoot, it is also too hot for dogs to walk. On hot days, it is best to exercise dogs in the early morning or evening to avoid the heat. If you plan to exercise your dog during the day, outfit your pup with booties to protect their paws. We recommend talking your dog swimming on hot days to help cool down dogs and get some exercise at any hour of the day! To prevent heatstroke, always offer dogs shaded areas and fresh drinking water when spending time outside on hot days.
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs can swim, and many new swimmers don’t have the confidence or body type to swim alone. At the Swim Club, all new swimmers wear life vests while they learn and gain confidence in the water. We swear by Ruffwear vests for keeping any size dog afloat! When choosing a life vest, make sure there is a top handle for easy removal from the water in case of emergency. Large barrel-chested dogs often have trouble staying afloat and should almost always wear a life jacket. Bulldogs, Boxers, Weimaraners, and Dobermans are examples of barrel-chested breeds.
In addition to life vests, we recommend never leaving dogs alone near water, regardless of swimming experience. Be sure to wait at least an hour after a dog eats before swimming. Bloat (when the stomach flips itself) is a life-threatening condition and can happen to any dog, especially when exercising after eating.