Excessive heat and heatwaves can be fatal, affecting both humans and animals alike. Karachi, along with other parts of Pakistan, is currently experiencing a heatwave, making it crucial to safeguard not only humans but also animals from extreme temperatures. This blog is intended for pet dog owners, animal care professionals, volunteers, and anyone interested in learning more about dog care tips to protect their dogs during the summer months.
Keep Them Hydrated
Dogs, like humans, need proper hydration during summer. Dogs can quickly become dehydrated when exposed to high temperatures, so make sure to always have fresh water available for your pet. Also, consider providing multiple water bowls in different locations to ensure easy access, both indoors and outdoors. It is okay to add ice cubes to its water to keep it cool for a longer time.
Keep Them Cool Under Shaded Environment
Dogs need a comfortable and shaded place to rest and cool down during the scorching summer days. Set up a designated area in your home where your dog can relax and retreat from the heat. Ensure there is sufficient shade, either through trees or by using a canopy or umbrella. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, consider investing in a dog house or creating a shaded area using tarps or other materials. This will provide them with a cool spot to relax and avoid direct exposure to the sun.
Protect Your Dog’s Paws
Hot pavement and sand can be extremely uncomfortable and potentially harmful to your dog’s paws. Before taking your furry friend for a walk, check the ground temperature by placing your hand on it for a few seconds. If it feels too hot for your hand, it’s likely too hot for your dog’s paws as well. Instead, take it out for walking early in the morning or later in the evening when the ground is cooler. If this isn’t possible, then get dog booties to protect its paws from hot surfaces.
Exercise is the Key
While regular exercise is important for your dog’s overall health, it’s crucial to adjust its exercise routine during summer. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest hours of the day when the temperatures are at its peak. Again, opt for early morning or late evening walks when it’s cooler.
Protect from Heatstroke
This is one of the most important dog care tips. Much like humans, heatstroke is a serious condition that can be life-threatening for dogs. Symptoms include:
- Excessive panting
To prevent heatstroke, never leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Ensure proper ventilation if your dog is traveling in a car, and never leave them unattended. If you suspect heatstroke, move your dog to a cool place immediately, offer them water, and contact a veterinarian for further assistance.
Signs of Overheating
While heatstroke and overheating may be used interchangeably, there are differences between the two, with heatstroke being the more severe condition.
Even with all the precautions and care, it’s important to be vigilant and watch for signs of overheating in your dog. Some common signs include:
- Excessive panting
- Red or pale gums
- Rapid heartbeat
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to act quickly. Move your dog to a cool area immediately, offer them water to drink, and use cool towels or a wet cloth to lower its body temperature gradually. Contact your veterinarian for further guidance and medical attention if needed.
Grooming and Sun Protection
Proper grooming can help your dog stay comfortable during summer. Regularly brush its coat to remove loose fur and prevent matting, which can hinder airflow and contribute to overheating. However, avoid shaving your dog’s coat too short, as its fur also provides protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Preventing Parasites and Insects
The monsoon, a warm and humid season, is a prime time for parasites and insects that can pose a threat to your dog’s health. Ensure your dog is up to date on its flea, tick, and heartworm preventives, as these pests thrive in warm weather. Regularly check your dog’s coat for fleas and ticks after outdoor activities and remove them promptly using appropriate tools or consult your veterinarian. Additionally, consider using pet-safe insect repellents to protect your dog from mosquitoes, flies, and other bothersome insects.
During summer, your dog’s dietary needs may change. Dogs tend to be less active in hot weather, so it’s important to adjust its food intake accordingly to prevent weight gain or loss. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of food and consider switching to a high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for summer or for dogs with higher water content. Additionally, you can offer frozen treats or provide frozen fruits and vegetables as healthy and refreshing snacks.
Keep Your Dog Engaged Indoors
On extremely hot days, it’s best to keep your dog indoors to avoid heat-related issues. However, to keep it active, offer your dog interactive toys, puzzle feeders, or treat-dispensing toys that can keep your dog mentally stimulated and entertained. You can also engage in indoor training sessions or play gentle games to keep its mind and body active.
Taking care of your dog in summer requires some extra attention and precautions to ensure its well-being in hot weather conditions. By following dog care tips like providing proper hydration, creating a cool and shaded environment, protecting its paws, preventing heatstroke, grooming appropriately, and watching for signs of overheating, you can keep your furry friend safe and comfortable. Remember to adjust its exercise routine, prevent parasites and insects, adjust its diet, and keep them engaged indoors on extremely hot days. With these guidelines in mind, you and your dog can enjoy a happy and healthy summer together.
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