Summer is almost here and you know what that means: it’s time to have fun in the sun! That also means it’s time to start getting ready to protect your family for the harsh summer sun. While forcing your kids to coat themselves from head to toe with sun screen and chug as much cold water as they can, make sure your protecting another important member of the family: your pet. Here are some ways that you can make sure your pal stays healthy and happy throughout the dog days of summer.
Hydration is crucial to the wellness of your pet in the summer. We’ve already told you why it is important and how to keep him hydrated, but you can never be too cautious. About 80% of your pet’s body is made up of water. This water is essential for caring out vital processes such as circulation and digestion. Becoming even a little bit dehydrated can slow down these processes making your pet very ill.
When it is hot outside, your amount of water your pet needs can be as high as 5 times his usual amount. To keep your pal hydrated, make sure he has easy access to fresh, clean water. A gravity water system, like the Healthy Pet Water Station, is a great solution to your pet’s water needs. Gravity systems are like water coolers at work. Water flows from the system’s water jug into your pet’s bowl giving him the water he needs, when he needs it. Plus, you can buy water filters for many of the gravity systems allowing your dog more cleaner, healthier water.
It is important that your pet gets the exercise he needs to stay fit and healthy all year round. However, exercising in the summer can be very dangerous. While it is a great time of the year for agility training and long games of catch, be aware of how hot your pet may be and how fast he may be dehydrating.
There are a few simple solutions to making sure your pal gets the exercise he needs without overheating. The first is to play at certain times of the day. Typically, it is the hottest out between noon and about 4:30 p.m. Playing in the morning/early afternoon or once the sun starts to go down lets you maximize the amount of time you can play before he starts to overheat.
Another option is to carry a portable water device like Drinkwell’s Hydro-Go Pet Canteen. This compact, pet water canteen is small and easy to carry. Holding up to 36 ounces of water, just unfold the water bowl from the canteen and your pal drink as much as he needs. Its unique design allows for you to pour any unused water back into the canteen, so no water is wasted, which is great for long adventures. Even if you don’t have a special waterer for you pet on the go, you should always have a cold bottle of water with you for your furry friend. Water from faucets at camp grounds or in parks could contain traces of anti-freeze or other chemicals that can harm your pet.
I’m sure we’ve all been told hundreds of times how important it is to put on sunblock before going out into the sun. Not only does it protect us from nasty sunburns, it also lessens our chances of getting skin cancer. While protecting yourself form harsh UV rays this summer make sure you’re protecting your pet as well.
Dogs and cats are just as vulnerable to sun’s harsh rays as we are. Your pal’s eyes, nose and ears are extremely sensitive to the sun and can easily be damaged. If your pal is outside for extended periods of time in the sun, be sure to ask your vet to recommend a pet-friendly sunblock. Some children’s sunscreen can be used to protect your pet’s sensitive skin, but make sure it does not contain any zinc oxide. If ingested, your pet can become very sick.
If your pet has very light fur or does not have much hair, you may also want to consider giving him extra protection. It may be silly to see your buddy wearing a sunsuit or a hat, but being extra cautious keeps away burns and helps keep him skin cancer free.
If your pet has to be outside in the hot heat for more than a few minutes this summer, make sure you give him a place to keep cool. If you don’t have a shaded area in your yard, consider putting up an umbrella, planting a tree or creating a shaded fort for you pal to cool off under.
A pet pool will also help keep him cool. While your cat may hate it, your dog will love it. If you have a kiddie pool or a container large enough for your pal to lounge in, fill it up just enough to keep water at the top of his chest if he lies down. Be careful if small pets that may want to join in on the fun. Never fill the pool to the point at which one of your pups is completely submerged.
Have you ever walked out onto the street on a hot summer day without shoes on? If you have, you know the excruciatingly painful burns that come with walking on hot surfaces. What you may not know is that your dog suffers the exact same feeling when he steps out onto the hot road. To protect him from blisters and burns, test pavement out yourself. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. If your pet will allow it, you can put booties on his feet for protection, but your best bet is to keep him off the surface. If you just need to get your pal to the car or across a short street you can put down towels for him to walk over to protect his precious paws.