As summer gets into full swing, it’s helpful to remind ourselves about the importance of the safety of our pets. Most of us know not to leave our dogs in the car on warm days, but did you know that dogs with less than half an inch of hair can easily sunburn?

To protect your dog, here are a few safety tips to keep him cool and comfortable on these hot summer days:

#1. Always make sure your dog has access to cool, clean drinking water.

No, the toilet doesn’t count. Dog’s do not have the ability to cool themselves by sweating like we do. Dogs stay cool by panting and drinking water. To help your pet stay cool, make sure he has plenty of cool water, and you can even add ice cubes to help keep the water cold.

#2. Make sure your dog can escape the heat when outdoors.

Surprisingly, dog houses don’t provide protection from the heat, and can actually keep heat in. A tarp or a shady tree make great shelters from the heat, and a child wading pool can also help give your dog relief.

#3. Skip the summer shave down and leave the coat a little longer to protect his skin.

A dog’s coat is designed to protect his skin from sun and heat, and it can’t perform if it isn’t there. Short shaved coats leave your dog’s skin exposed to the sun and can result in sunburn as well as leave him unprotected from insect bites and other injuries.

If your dog is already shaved or his coat is naturally shorter than half an inch, consider using dog sunscreen to keep your pet safe.

 #4 Watch for signs of stress from the heat.

By the time your dog shows signs of heat stroke, it is often too late to save them. Instead, look for signs that your dog is feeling the heat and take action immediately. Signs your dog might be suffering include:

  • Heavy Panting
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Either pale or very red gums
  • Dehydration

If your dog is showing any of these signs, cool him down as quickly as possible by taking him out of the heat, offering cold water, or placing cool (not cold!) damp towels on his belly and feet.

Your dog will appreciate the extra effort you take to help him enjoy the summer months. Stay safe with your dog and enjoy the sun!