by Mara Bovsun
Soaking up bright golden rays is irresistible as we enter the summer. But, it’s important to make preparations to safeguard your dog’s health before hitting the beach or even backyard. Sunshine may make you happy, but it also poses some hazards. Here are four summer safety tips:
Stay in the shade when the sun is at its most intense, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Heatstroke is an ever-present risk, as is damage to delicate paw pads from walking on blistering-hot pavement. It’s a good idea to take off your own shoes and test a surface before asking your dog to trot along beside you. When possible, walk on the grass.
Watch for signs that your dog could be overheating. These include:
* Slowing down, especially if a dog who was out front starts lagging behind,
* A change in gum color from pink to red,
* Excessive panting.
If you see any of these signs, find some shade and cool your dog down. Carry plenty of water, and a 50-50 mixture of water and Pedialyte or Gatorade to replenish vital electrolytes.
Water-soaked T-shirts and neckerchiefs are helpful, as are the more high-tech versions of these items, such as cooling or “thermoregulating” vests and bandanas. Beds, pillow inserts, and mats, using the same technology, are also popular among dog owners.
Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. Dogs can get sunburned, too. Those most at risk have light skin, fair hair, and thin coats. She recommends choosing a product specifically for animals, and applying it an hour or two before going out. Slather it on ear tips, the nose, and any areas that might catch some rays, include the belly if you have a dog who loves to sunbathe.
Originally published in AKC FAMILY DOG.
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