5 Rules to Keep Your Dog Safe this Summer

Summer time is one of the funnest times to be a dog owner.  Swimming, hiking, biking, and all sorts of outdoor fun is available to dogs and their owners.  There are some important things to keep in mind when enjoying the great outdoors with your best friend.

#1 Always check the temperature of asphalt and cement before walking your dog.

Most of us tend to keep our feet safe with shoes, so it is not uncommon for owners to not even think about the temperature of asphalt on the road or concrete on the sidewalk before getting their dog out for a walk.  We recommend pressing your hand on any surface you plan to walk your dog for 30 seconds.  If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog.  Try walking your dog in the early morning, or late evening to avoid walking on extremely hot sun-baked surfaces.

#2 Check lakes and ponds for blue-green algae

Blue-Green Algae can be very unsafe and even deadly to your best friend.  Always check with the Kansas Department of Health website http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/ before planning to go on an adventure with your four-legged family members.  Teach your dog to always come to you for a drink of water, and do not allow your dog to drink from, or swim in, any “nasty” looking waters.

#3 Limit time in the heat for any snub-nosed breeds

If you own a pug, bulldog, bullmastiff, pekinese, pit bull, boxer, or any dog with a short snout pay extra close attention to how much time they are spending in the heat.  Dogs with short snouts have a very hard time cooling themselves off in the heat of the summer.  If you notice your dog is getting a little warm, bring him/her inside in the air conditioning to cool down.

#4 Keep outdoor training sessions short and quick

Even if your dog is wanting to keep going, limit any outdoor training sessions in the summer to very short and quick little lessons.  If necessary, break up different behaviors you are working on so your dog can be successful within 2-3 minutes.  You don’t want your dog to be working through getting overheated.  Some dogs with a lot of drive have worked themselves to the point of needing to be hospitalized due to overheating.

#5 Make sure if you need to keep your dog in the car for any reason you are fully prepared

Many dog sports will require you to travel during the summer and your dog will likely need to be crated in your car for part of that time.  If you do not have a separate air conditioning system for your dog’s area of the vehicle make sure you use a high-powered fan, shade cloth, and keep all windows and door wide open.  Keep fresh cool water available the entire time and do not leave your dog unattended.  After a training session, walk your dog long enough for their heart rate to go down and for them to relax before putting them in their crate.