11 Top Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer

Spring has sprung and summer will soon be here. German Shepherds are definitely more geared towards cold weather than hot, but they're pretty tolerant of toasty temps with a little precaution and forethought. Here's a list of tips to help keep your dog safe this summer.

1. Keep your dog hydrated

The hotter it is, the more water dogs need to drink to stay hydrated. Make sure your dog has continuous access to fresh, cool water. As a bonus tip, add ice to your water pail or bowl. Personally, for people who have a fenced yard, I suggest a water pail attached to the fence. It reduces the chance that the water will be spilled if you let your dogs outside for a while to play.

2. Provide shade

Shade is also important in summer. If you have a fenced in yard with no shade trees, there are numerous types of shade canopies for cheap. I have a friend with a small yard who had a sizeable canopy for shade for when his dogs were playing outdoors. It amazed me when he told me it was less than $40.

3. Provide a way to cool down.

Kiddie pools are another great way to keep your dog cool. In fact, the aforementioned friend had one under his cheap canopy. We sat and watched the dogs have a grand old time while we barbecued! As with the drinking water, on really hot days you can add ice to them too.

Frozen treats are another way to keep cool. You can use rubber, stuffable toys filled with peanut butter and treats and leave it in the freezer overnight. You can freeze toys and treats in any container you want. But my favorite is using 0 sodium broth and putting treats in it. Dogs go crazy for it. Just make sure it's broth you make yourself with no sodium or 0 sodium broth with no added garlic or onions. Making your own broth is cheap and easy. Just buy some chicken or turkey necks, a few carrots and greens for vitamins and minerals and let it simmer for a couple of hours with a lid on. Freeze that in a container and you have something that will keep your dog cool, hydrated and is packed full of nutrients.

4. Time your walks/jogs

Timing is another key factor. If you want to go for a jog with your dog, early in the morning is best. After or as the sun goes down is second best. Running during the heat of the day should be avoided for you and your dog. If you're hot, your dog is even hotter.

5. Don’t shave your dog

Do. Not. Shave. Your. Dog. If you have a double coated dog, don't shave it. Ever. I have seen so many dozens of shaved German Shepherds and Huskies in my life that it hurts my eyes to even think about it. Double coated dogs use their fur for warmth, but it also provides shade when it's hot. Have you ever noticed that people who live in deserts always have loose robes covering their body and always have their heads and faces covered? Clothes are portable shade to prevent sunburn ... so is your dog's coat of fur. Put the clippers down.

6. Never leave your dog in the car

Never leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes. If you must, make sure the AC on. Even with the windows cracked, cars turn into ovens at even moderate temperatures. Also be prepared to have people get upset even if the AC is on. Most people aren't mechanics and can't tell the sound of an AC compressor kicking on from the sound of their perceived pleas of help coming from your dog. A note could help.

7. Protect the paws

Concrete and asphalt get really, really hot. Be mindful of that and use some protective balms for dog pads or booties if you absolutely must be on asphalt for any extended period of time.

8. Use a doggy life vest

Invest in life vests if you go swimming with your dog. Some dogs just aren't strong swimmers, and even the ones that are can get exhausted and need assistance. Also be very careful playing fetch games in the water. A few throws is fine for all dogs, but some dogs ingest water every time they retrieve something out of the water. This can cause vomiting, bloat, torsion and even water intoxication. Bloat, torsion and water intoxication can be lethal in very short amounts of time and require immediate emergency intervention.

9. Stay up to date on your dog’s heartworm and flea & tick medications

Parasites are waking up and looking for a host. We've mostly discussed hydration and keeping cool, but be on the lookout for disease carrying fleas and ticks. Fleas are not only parasites themselves, but can cause worms when a dog ingests them whilst biting at his fur. Stay up on your heartworm meds!

10. Rinse your dog after a swim in the pool

Swimming pools are fun, but chlorine is caustic. Thoroughly hose off your dog with fresh water after a dip in the pool. A lot of people start to see irritated skin and eyes and think it's summer allergies when it fact, it's the increased level of chlorine in a pool vs tap water.

11. Learn the signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke

Last but not least, learn the signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke. Heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, wobbly legs and the symptoms of drunkenness when walking. If your dog's temperature is over 103f, there's a problem. Apply cool, running water to the head, armpits, belly and underside of the neck. The water must be running to wick away the heat. Another tip is to use rubbing alcohol when you don't have access to a hose. Rubbing alcohol evaporates much faster than water. That's why it feels cool on the skin. If you're on a hike or run and don't have access to a hose, a bottle of rubbing alcohol in a fanny pack or backpack can be a lifesaver.

We hope you found these friendly reminders and tips helpful. If you did, please leave a like and share. Thank you.

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