The hot “dog days of summer” are upon us. This means hiking, long evening walks and swimming! If you’re not careful, though, it can also mean burned paws and heatstroke for your dog. We know how much you love your pets, and so we came up with a few tips to help you both stay cool this summer.

  1. Check the Sidewalks. We often forget that our dog’s paws are sensitive. If the sidewalk is too hot for your bare feet, then it’s too hot for your dog as well! Try walking in the grass or early in the day before things heat up. You can also get little booties for your dog to keep his paws from burning.
  2. Never Leave a Dog in the Car. Even if you think you’ll only be a few minutes, staying in a hot car is dangerous for your dog. On an 85 degree day, it can reach 102 degrees inside the car within 10 minutes, even with a window cracked. This temperature can reach 120 degrees in half an hour. So never leave your dog in the car. Take him with you or leave him home.
  3. Get Him Groomed. Ask your vet or groomer if your dog would be cooler with a new haircut! He’ll be looking stylish and feel more comfortable. Always ask a pro, though. Sometimes dogs can actually stay cooler with their fur.
  4. Exercise Carefully. Only take your dog out during cooler times of the day, preferably when it’s less than 75 degrees out. Limit the time he’s sprinting around and don’t forget to bring cool water (for you and the pooch). Let him cool off in the shade before walking home.
  5. Frozen Treats. Freezing his chew toy can help cool him down, or freeze treats inside ice cubes. It will be fun for your dog to get the treat out and fight the heat at the same time!
  6. Be Wary of Overheating. Pay attention to your dog and his behaviors, especially in the heat. Watch out for heavy panting and drooling, dark red gums and tongue, dizziness, weakness, trouble breathing and a rapid heartbeat. These can be signs of heatstroke, and if you see any of them, take him to the vet.
  7. Know Your Dog. Some breeds of dogs struggle to cool down more than others. Pugs or bulldogs have smaller airways and can have a harder time releasing heat. Also take extra precautions with old or overweight dogs who are more susceptible to heatstroke.

Taking just a few extra safety measures with your dog this summer will make him so much happier. This way you both can enjoy this beautiful summer weather!