Preparing Your Dog for Summer

With the summer season upon us, it’s time to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine. While the summer weather is great for outdoor activities like swimming or relaxing in the backyard, the heat can be dangerous for your pet or medical service dog. At Guardian Angels, we have put together some tips to keep your dog safe and comfortable this summer.

Test the Concrete with Your Hand

Anytime you have your dog outside during the summer, you should put your hand on the concrete or the blacktop. If it’s uncomfortable for your hand to be on it, then it is uncomfortable for the dog to walk on. Even when the sun is going down in the evening, the surface may still be retaining intense heat.

Our service dogs are going places with their recipients all the time. If you park your car out in the parking lot and walk across to the front door of the store, you may have already burned their feet.
You either need to park as close to the door as you can get, walk in the grass on the way up to the door, or if you are with someone have them drop you off at the door so you don’t have to walk across the hot surface at all.

Hydration is Key

Make sure that your dog has plenty of water available all the time, especially when the temperature is high. Dogs do not cool themselves by sweating the way people do – they pant. Dogs are much more prone to becoming overheated more quickly than a person, particularly if you have a short-nosed breed such as a bulldog. Becoming severely overheated can kill them. We need to be very aware.

Limit Play Time Outside

If you are going to throw the ball for them, do it in the morning when it is still cool outside. If it’s getting warm, you need to know when to stop. Many dogs are high drive or just love to play ball and will continue to play as long as the ball is being thrown. There are dogs that will play until they drop from heatstroke. You must be a responsible human and end the game before they are overheated.

Don’t Feed Right Before or After Playing

If you’ve been playing outside with your dog and they are panting, wait until they stop panting before feeding them. If they have just eaten, give them some time to begin digesting their food before doing any heavy exercise like chasing balls.

Car Safety for the Summer

You should never, under any circumstance, leave your dog in the car. We should also keep the AC on while driving or sitting in the vehicle with your dog. Do not allow them to hang their head out the window – an unexpected object could hit them in the face causing serious injury.

They could get hit in the eye or in the face by a bug, bird, or branch, something that you are passing, or a stone that gets kicked up. Think about when you’ve caught a stone in your windshield and it cracks. What is it going to do to a dog when it hits them in the head or in the eye? It’s like a bullet coming at them so we recommend that you keep your windows up and keep the AC on to keep your pet cool and safe.

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