We all want our pets to enjoy happy lives, and there’s much to love about spending summer outdoors with a dog. Here are four tips from a veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ to keep your dogs cool and safe while doing so:
Keep their feet covered: You’ve likely walked across pavement during the summer without your shoes on and been amazed at just how quickly it turned into a painful experience. Well, the same is true for your dog! Pavement, particularly asphalt, gets very hot very quickly—often 30 to 50 degrees hotter than the air temperature! Purchase a pair of booties for your dog, or simply avoid the pavement altogether to protect their sensitive paws.
Don’t leave them in the car: This is the worst-case scenario we hear about all too often—the dog that was locked in a hot car and couldn’t be rescued in time. Cars, like pavement, get hot very quickly during the summertime. In fact, it can take as little as a few minutes for the temperature inside a car to exceed 140 degrees. Dogs can suffer serious brain injuries and heatstroke in these conditions, and can die in as little as 15 minutes. Avoid bringing your dog on any errands in which they might have to stay in the car.
Monitor outside time: It’s important for dogs to get sufficient exercise and have opportunities to relieve themselves, but during the summer, these most basic outdoor activities carry considerable risk. Habits that are easy to form during cooler weather—such as leaving the dog outside while you’re at work or letting them enjoy extended periods of outdoor time on weekends—should be curtailed during the summer. In fact, it’s best to limit outside time to the fullest extent possible during extreme heat, and to keep an eye on your dog even if they’re only outside for a brief time.
Schedule walks appropriately: While it’s impossible to completely avoid hot temperatures in Phoenix, it does get marginally cooler at night. For this reason, it’s best to schedule walks in the early morning or late evening to limit heat exposure. Taking your dog for a walk during these times of the day also gives the pavement a chance to cool down somewhat, making the walk that much more comfortable.