Summer heat can be devastating, and it’s common for pets to experience issues with heat. Over 3/4 of all pets have experienced some kind of heat issue.
Toronto doesn’t often have incredibly hot summers, but July summers can get up to around 25 degrees Celsius, which is when exercising outside can become unhealthy for dogs. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your dog safe through the summer months this year.
1. Allow your dog inside with air conditioning
Air conditioning is critical to help humans survive the summertime in many areas, and the same can be true of dogs. Although Toronto doesn’t often get hot enough where it’s very likely that your dog will start overheating without air conditioning, you may still want to consider it during Toronto’s hottest time of the day, which is between 2 PM and 8 PM.
2. Put protective shoes on your dog
Protective dog booties may look a little bit silly, but they can be an important part of keeping your dog safe. If you rest the back of your hand against the pavement and your hand instantly starts feeling warm, the pavement is probably too hot for your dog. You should consider either carrying your dog with you, using a doggy scooter, or buying protective shoes.
3. Keep your dog’s hair long
It’s common for people to cut their dog’s hair in the summer, often because they worry about their dog overheating or because they don’t want to deal with hair matting issues that may occur in longer-haired dogs. However, that hair also protects your dog from UV rays, and your dog’s sensitive skin may sunburn if you cut their hair. Keep your dog’s hair long. You may need to invest in more grooming and be more careful to avoid heat exhaustion for longer-haired dogs.
4. Buy doggy clothing
If your dog has very short hair, issues with bald spots, or a shaved spot for some medical reason, they’ll be more prone to sunburn. Because dogs often like to lick anything applied to their skin, including sunscreen, it’s better to use a physical barrier to UV exposure, like a layer of clothing, rather than applying sunscreen.
5. Be aware of the signs of overheating
If you’re out in the heat with your dog, the first symptom of overheating will often be heavy, rapid panting, as well as your dog being less interested in running and playing with you. Your dog may try to find shade or even dig down, trying to reach a cooler area of dirt. More serious signs, like vomiting and diarrhea, collapse, or seizures, should prompt you to seek immediate emergency attention.
How to protect a dog that shows signs of overheating
If your dog has been affected by the heat in some way, it’s a good idea to schedule an online virtual care appointment in Toronto. A veterinarian can advise you on what to do to keep your dog safe both now and in the future. Especially if this is your first summer owning a dog, remember that this is a learning experience, and you’ll be able to protect your dog more effectively if you know what to look for.