Dog Days of Summer
Keeping your canine companion happy and healthy is a priority all year but it becomes even more important during the summer. While other states may worry about winter weather, we have a specific set of concerns with the heat. Here are some tips and products that will help you keep your pet safe, cool, and entertained all summer long.
Offer multiple sources of fresh water throughout your home. Pets can be picky so giving them a few choices helps keep them hydrated.
Frozen fruit like blueberries and strawberries are a healthy treat. The water content will help them stay hydrated and they are a great source of nutrients.
Make sure you know the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Drooling, excessive panting, sticky saliva, floppy skin that takes long to snap back after being pulled, fatigue, dizziness, and a high temperature are all signs your dog is in trouble.
Remember sidewalks and asphalt roads are extremely hot during the summer and contrary to some popular beliefs, dogs can burn their paw pads. Try to walk your dog in the grass during the hottest parts of the day or protect their paws. Paw wax and dog boots or socks are the best ways to protect their feet if you are in an area where you can’t avoid the hot pavement.
Try to take walks in the early mornings or in the evening and keep midday walks short. Dogs can’t sweat so they are susceptible to heatstroke just like humans.
Brachycephalic breeds (dogs with shortened heads like Pugs, English Bulldogs, and Pekingese) overheat much quicker because of their reduced ability to take in air so keep a close eye on them when out during the hottest part of the day.
Use cooling mats in your home to give your dog a place to recover after a walk or exercise. You can also find a cooling vest for your dog if you will be taking them with you on hikes.
A kiddie pool is a fun way to keep your dog cool. It’s also easy to drain so you can control how much pool time your pup gets in case you don’t want them getting wet every time you let them outside.
If you plan to take your dog out for boating activities, it’s a good idea to get a life vest. Even the most prolific swimmer can tire out and need some help. Just make sure you don’t let your dog swim in ponds, lakes, or canals in Southwest Florida—there’s a good chance an alligator could be present.
A beach visit is another great summer activity for your pooch. While Collier County doesn’t allow pets on the beach, there is a dedicated dog beach in Lee County and all of Fort Myers Beach is dog-friendly as well. It’s also less crowded than the beach off Estero Boulevard if your dog doesn’t love spending time with fellow canines.