Keep Your Agility Dog Safe in Summer Heat

Heat and dogsSummer can be a wonderful season with all the fresh fruits and veggies, warm temperatures and plenty of outdoor activities to do with your dog. There are agility trials galore and for us there are always a new trail to hike. However, summer can pack some not-so-fun surprises we need to be mindful of for our pups and ourselves!

  1. Sunburn. Something we may not even consider, but dogs can get sunburn, too! Any exposed white skin like noses & ears and on short haired dogs faces, necks and backs will benefit from a light layer of non-toxic sunscreen of 45 spf or greater. Look for sunscreen for babies faces as it will be the gentlest.
  2. Heat. Never, ever, ever leave your dog in the car, even ‘just for five minutes’. Outside temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous to your dog even with the windows cracked one inch. Please, leave them home. And at home, be sure they always have access to clean, cool water. Adding ice to their water is fun, but don’t get the water so cold they will not drink it. Some dogs actually love ice and will have fun “bobbing” for it in their water bucket.
  3. Fleas and ticks. All dogs are prone to fleas and ticks if they have access to long grass. Short dogs or those with long coats are even more susceptible as they can collect the parasites in shorter grass as well. If you can keep your dog out of tall grass it would be best, otherwise be sure to thoroughly check your dogs body after a romp in tall grass with special attention to areas ticks collect such as behind the ears, in arm pits and around the mouth and anus. In areas prone to ticks, be sure your dogs are up to date on their vaccinations and medicine.
  4. Paw burn. A good rule to follow is if you can’t put your bare feet on the pavement because it burns your feet, it most likely is hot enough to burn your dog’s pads. If you need to take your dog for a walk when surfaces are hot, you may want to invest in doggie boots. Once your dog’s pads are burned your dog will not only be miserable, they will not be able to do any agility until they are healed. This is one area where an ounce of prevention will beat a pound of cure. Should your dog’s pads get burned, contact your veterinarian for healing salve and directions on dressing the wounds until healed.
  5. Allergies. If you have a new dog and this is their first summer, be sure to contact your vet if you notice excessive sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing or excessive itching. Once your dog has scratched themselves enough to cause wounds they will be difficult to heal. The sooner you can address allergies with medications the better off your dog will be.

It is a lot of common sense when dealing with hot weather. Keep in mind that your dog does not sweat, therefore they will overheat faster as they pant in hot air in an attempt to cool. Keep both you and your dog well hydrated, try to exercise in the cool of the day and if it is hot take lots of breaks, drink plenty of cool liquids and stay in the shade as much as possible.