SUMMER SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR DOG With the temperatures rising this time of year, I began thinking of all the ways we can keep our dogs safe during the hot summer months, and how to make this weather a little bit more enjoyable for them. Most of these pointers are just common sense. 1. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, always make sure that your dog has some shade and plenty of cool, clean water. 2. NEVER leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, whether the day is sunny or not. Think of your car as a metal box--the temperatures inside a car can go as high as 100 degrees within minutes. 3. Dog owners should use caution when exercising their dog outdoors if temperatures get above 85 degrees--wait until it cools down. 4. Many dogs love to swim—we have a couple of small plastic swimming pools that our huskies love—your dog might love one, too. 5. Make frozen “popsicle” treats for your dogs with low sodium broth or they may enjoy plain old ice cubes. 6. Don’t shave your double-coated dog. Double-coated dogs like Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Pomeranians, etc., have a soft, cottony undercoat which works as insulation, and a top coat that protects them from the elements. Although all of that hair may look awfully hot in the summer, the undercoat actually works to keep the heat away from the skin. Think about how hot a house that’s not insulated would get in the summer—this is the same concept with the undercoat of a double-coated dog—it acts as insulation to keep the heat out. Shaving your double-coated dog also puts them at risk for sunburn and skin cancer, not to mention certain breeds just look ridiculous after they’ve been shaved. 7. Watch for signs of heat stroke. Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke in pets. Some of the warning signs are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, excessive drooling, dizziness and lack of coordination, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness. Dogs are more at risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise or have heart or respiratory problems. Some breeds with shorter muzzles also have a harder time breathing in the heat. If your dog shows the symptoms of heat stroke, you should immediately try to cool them down. You can do this by applying a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the pads of their feet, apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest, or run cool water over your dog, let your dog drink cool water or lick ice cubes, and get them to your veterinarian as soon as you can. 8. Walking your dog on sidewalks, streets, patios, sand and pavement can burn the bottom of their feet. Think about how hot that material can get. Press your hand onto the surface for 30 seconds—if it’s hot to you then it will be hot to them. Walk your dog in the morning or evening after the pavement has cooled down. Have a safe and enjoyable summer with your dog.