Summer should be a time of sun and fun for yourself and your pet. After all those long winter days and spring's rains, everyone is ready for a good romp come July and August. But, summer poses its own health risks for your canine companion. Heat Stroke, Poisoning, Sunburn, and Ticks can mar an otherwise wonderful summer vacation or afternoon trip to the park.
Many people think heat stroke is something that only strikes outdoor and working dogs. Although animals that live and work outside are particularly at risk, any dog that ventures out during the dog days of summer can get heat stroke. Dogs do have sweat glands on their feet, but they rely on panting as a cool-down mechanism. Heat strokes occur when your furry friend can't cool down as quickly as his body temperature is rising. Dogs with short noses, like pugs, as well as longhaired or double-coated dogs have a harder time cooling off. Older dogs, overweight dogs, and dogs with respiratory problems, such as asthma, also have a hard time getting cool once they have overheated. Heat stroke can occur within minutes in a confined space, such as a car, even with the window down. Dogs can also overheat exercising in the park on hot and humid days. The best way to prevent heat stroke is to make sure your pet has access to cool water, both for drinking and immersion. If you're exercising with your pet during the peak sun hours, make sure that you take lots of breaks—for yourself and your pet and that both of you drink plenty of liquids. Older dogs and dogs with respiratory problems should remain inside on particularly humid days.