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They may be called the “dog days of summer” but, that doesn’t mean the days are dog friendly. Summer heat and skyrocketing temperatures can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Before you set foot outside with your four-legged friend, keep in mind these essential summer tips. They’ll have you and your pet feeling you have it “made in the shade.”

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is the key to staying healthy in the summer months. Make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water available throughout the day. If you are going out, make sure to pack a bottle of water for you and one for your dog. There are even expandable bowls that are easy to take along anywhere you go. Sometimes adding a little water to your dog’s dry food can also help keep your pet hydrated. If you notice your dog drooling or excessively panting, showing signs of fatigue or sluggishness, or that his skin takes too long to snap back into place, your dog may be dehydrated or overheated.

Protect Those Paws

If you are going for a walk on concrete or asphalt surfaces, make sure to protect your pet’s paws. Dogs need shoes or some type of protective footwear. The average summer temperature in Austin is 95 degrees and can easily reach the triple digits. When the air temperature is 90 degrees, the temperature of concrete is 123 degrees. That’s hot enough to fry an egg. Walking on hot asphalt or concrete can result in severe burns to a dog’s paw pads. The skin on a dog’s paws can also blister, crack, and peel, making it extremely painful for them to walk.

Beat the Heat

Want to enjoy the great outdoors? Try to venture out in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid the blistering heat of midday. You may also have the secondary benefit of catching some glorious sunrises and sunsets.

Brush, Don’t Shave

A giant fur coat can be a burden in the summer months. Thankfully mother nature accounted for this, which is why many breeds shed their fuzzy inner layer of fur in the spring and summer months. Help the process along and keep your dog brushed and well-groomed. In many breeds, the out layer of fur can actually reflect the sun and encourage ventilation, so dogs shouldn’t be shaved. Shaving may even permanently interfere with a dog’s natural cooling system and cause the thick insulating fuzz to grow in the summer months when it shouldn’t. Remember, fur will also protect your pet’s skin from sunburns.

Be Mindful of Location

Any time of year, but especially in the summer, be mindful of your dog’s location. Never leave them unattended in a hot car or near a pool. Depending on the temperature, it can take only six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car. A “quick” errand isn’t worth it. It’s also important to never leave your dog unattended near a pool. It is a common misconception that all dogs instinctively know how to swim. We all want what’s best for our four-legged friends. Sometimes, in the summer months, time gets away from us. At Walk! ATX, our passion is pups and helping them lead happy and healthy lives. If you need someone to take your pet on walks this summer, contact us at (512) 655-9557 today. Our trained staff will give you the summer break you need and the exercise your dog craves.  

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