Dogs, like people, are sensitive to changes in the weather.
Just as we make changes to our wardrobe and behavior with the changing seasons, we also need to ensure our dogs are kept comfortable.
Tips for Warm Summer Weather
Dogs love going outside in the summer as much as we do. But hot temperatures can be dangerous. For the safety of your new best friend, be sure to:
- Ensure your dog has plenty of water and shade. Panting is how dogs cool off, much like sweating is how we cool off. Prolonged panting can indicate a serious problem, such as heat stroke. If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, cool him down immediately using cold towels and ice and transport him to the nearest veterinarian’s office.
- Take walks in the mornings or evenings when it’s cooler. Avoid hot asphalt or sidewalks, which can burn their paws. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them!
- Never leave your dog in the car unattended. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can reach over 150 degrees in just a few minutes. Your pet can overheat and suffer from heat exhaustion in a matter of minutes. This can be fatal.
- Regularly groom your dog. Brushing and grooming removes loose hair and keeps your dog more comfortable. A heat wave haircut (very short or shaved) is a good choice.
Tips for Cold and Freezing Weather
Dogs are vulnerable to hypothermia (low body temperature) and frostbite when exposed to cold temperatures for too long. Shivering is a clear sign your pet is cold. Prevention is key:
- Keep dogs inside and limit time outdoors. Pet coats and sweaters are not just fashionable. They also keep your pet warm.
- Never leave pets alone in a car. Once a car’s ignition has been turned off, cold temperatures can quickly infiltrate the vehicle, creating a freezer-like environment. Limit travel to what is necessary. Bring pets along when you leave the vehicle.
- Avoid anti-freeze. Anti-freeze containing the substance ethylene glycol is deadly for your pets. Its sweet smell and taste attracts pets.
- Prep paws for the outdoors. Clip long fur between the toes and pads to prevent ice balls from forming while walking in the snow. When returning, wipe snow and ice off your dog’s body with a warm, damp towel.