Sun Safety for Service Dogs

Sun Safety Dog

When the sun is shining, we just want to spend time outside, and sun safety for your dogs is just as important as it is for yourself and your family. Whether your dog is a Service Animal, an ESA, or a family pet, they’re all affected by heat and humidity and it’s important to take care of them when the heat is high. Check out these tips to keep your dogs cool in the summer sun. 

Avoid exercise from 10AM – 3PM 

The sun is at its strongest between 10AM and 3PM on any given day so avoid excessive walking or exercise during this time. Dogs respond to heat differently than humans do. For instance, when dogs are hot, they pant to help their bodies circulate air to cool them down. Unlike humans, who sweat to regulate our temperature, dogs can only sweat through their paw pads and nose. When the sun is at its hottest, the ground can hold intense amounts of heat. If the asphalt is too hot to hold your hand on, it’s too hot for dogs. Walking on the hot ground can cause burnt paw pads, and also prevent your dog from cooling off, which can lead to even greater problems.  

Make a cold treat 

Dog in kiddie pool
Cool for the Summer

If you’re committed to being outside in the heat, find ways to cool off. Just like you have ways to keep your kids cool and safe, there are similar easy tactics to keep your dogs comfortable. Some dogs love to cool off in a splash pool or a sprinkler as much as kids do, so give your dog a backyard waterpark to help them stay safe. Dogs can also enjoy ‘pupsicles’. You can make a range of pupsicles at home with silicone molds, or regular ice trays. We like these adorable dog paw shaped molds.  

There’s lots of different recipes you can use – but our pup’s favorite recipe is Peanut Butter, Apple Yogurt.   

Finished home made dog trears
Homemade dog treats ready for tasting

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter 
  • 1 large red apple cut into cubes (seeds and core removed) 

 Instructions 

  1. Combine yogurt, peanut butter and apple in blender. 
  2. Blend until incorporated, adding a splash of water as needed 
  3. Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, mix in some of your dog’s regular kibble and pour into silicon trays 
  4. Freeze overnight for your very own pupsicles 

You can play with different flavors like pumpkin, or watermelon. You can even freeze chicken stock ice cubes, but best to let your dog enjoy that in an area you don’t need to keep clean. The possibilities are endless, just check out this quick guide on what your dog can and can’t eat to stay safe. 

Seek a cool place 

If you can help it, avoid overheating by keeping cool in the AC. While most malls and movie theatres are not pet friendly, Service Dogs can go anywhere their handlers can. Emotional Support Animals are often welcome in business establishments, apart from places that serve food. Shade can also be a friend when trying to stay cool. Unfortunately, fans don’t cool dogs the same way they can for humans, and humidity can be even more dangerous than sun so it’s important to have a cool space you can depend on like a basement if your home is not air conditioned. If you’re identifying your dog as a Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal in intense heat, consider trading the vest for a tag on their collar or leash instead.    

Avoid danger by practicing sun safety in the car

Keeping cool, calm and collected

Never leave your dog in the car. When the weather is 70 degrees, the inside of a car can heat to 100 degrees in just 20 mins, and 140 degrees in an hour. This can cause heatstroke, seizures, and death. Leaving your dog in the car while you run a quick errand is only acceptable with Tesla’s Dog Mode. For the rest of us, leave your dog with a friend, at home, or bring them inside with you. Most businesses are cool with a quick errand, as long as they are not selling food. 

Know the signs of overheating 

When the weather is hot, always look out for your dog’s safety. Look for excessive panting or difficulty breathing even while resting. Drooling, weakness, stumbling, or collapsing are all urgent warning signs. Symptoms may also include seizures, diarrhea, and vomit, along with elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees)  

Dogs with flatter faces like Pugs and Bulldogs, and Persian cats are at greater risk of heatstroke since they cannot pant as effectively as other dogs. These pets along with senior pets, puppies, and overweight animals should be kept in air-conditioned rooms. If your pet is experiencing signs of overheating take immediate action to cool your animal down, before taking them to the vet.  

Cooling down 

Use a room temperature bath or hose water to douse the dog. Water that is too cold will constrict blood vessels and decrease blood flow, making it take longer to cool off. Move the dog to shade and air conditioning. Don’t force the animal to drink, it could prevent them from breathing and panting to cool off. Stop cooling once the dog’s temperature reaches 103 degrees and take them to the vet to assess any potential damage to their health.  

Hopefully with the help of these tips, your dog can stay happy and cool all season long, and if your dog is ever in danger, you’ll know what to do to help.

Share with someone who needs some sun safety for their dog.

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