Summer is just around the corner. It’s a time to hang out outdoors, have barbeques, hike and go to the beach! But Taiwan’s scorching heat is not without risks, and, as with people, heatstroke can creep up on dogs before you know it.
Here are some ways to have fun this summer, while keeping your dog cool!
Keep your dog well hydrated
Encourage your dog to drink more water when it’s hot. Some dogs drink more naturally, but yours doesn’t, consider adding some broth to his or her water or adding fresh water to meals.
Ice is a fun and versatile way to keep dogs cool! Put a few ice cubes in the water bowl. Or freeze water in a bowl with or without treats – the perfect post-walk summertime treat.
You can check if your dog is properly hydrated by pinching its skin at the top of the neck and letting go. If the dog is dehydrated, the skill will go back slowly instead of snapping back into place. Dehydrated dogs may also be lethargic and have sunken eyes.
Go out when it’s cooler
Take walks and enjoy outdoor playtime early in the day and in the evenings. Temperatures rise quickly in the morning, so in the summer months you may need to get up extra early for your dog!
If you do go out in the mid-day heat for a prolonged period, bring plenty of water and a collapsible water bowl for your pooch. If your dog is particularly susceptible to overheating, throw a cold, wet towel in your bag or even ice packs for your dog to lie on.
Hot ground can burn sensitive paw pads. Touch concrete pavements or black asphalt, and if you can’t keep your hand on the ground for more than five seconds, consider a grassier route or plan to go out when the sun is not as harsh.
Swimming and wading pools
A swim at the beach or pool is lots of fun if your dog is a water lover!
If you have a yard or other safe outdoor area, consider filling a large tub or children’s portable swimming pool for your dog to play in.
Always monitor your dog around water, especially if the water is too deep to stand up in.
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Every dog has a different level of heat tolerance and some even thrive living outdoors provided they have shade and water. That said, any dog can overheat, particularly flat-faced dogs and winter breeds like huskies. Watch out for signs of heatstroke: rapid breathing and panting, excessive drooling, looking tired or depressed, muscle tremors and staggering. Take action quickly to cool a dog exhibiting these signs by moving it to shade or indoors and covering it with wet towels.
Don’t shave your dog. Unlike people, dogs don’t cool down by perspiring through their skin. Shaving a dog’s fur removes insulation that can actually make the dog feel warmer. It also exposes the dog’s skin to harmful rays from the sun.
Don’t leave your dog unattended in an enclosed car. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures in a parked car can rise to deadly levels. If you leave your dog in the car with the air conditioning on, check back every 10 minutes or so to make sure it’s still running.
Don’t expose your dog to anything too hot for you. Generally speaking, when it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Whether it’s engaging in outdoor activities or staying indoors without air conditioning or fans, if it would be too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your dog.
Have a fun and safe summer with your dog!