Puppies and older dogs are very susceptible to hot weather; encourage your puppy to take a break from play to cool off, and don't overtax your older dog.
Your dog may be less active during hot weather and thus will need less to eat than in cold weather. Observe your dog and adjust the amount of food to suit her activity level and appetite. If your dog is losing weight or you notice other indications of illness, call your vet.
Although you may think a close clip will keep your dog cool, if the cut is too short your dog can get a sunburn. At a normal length, a dog's coat has insulating properties that help protect him from the heat.
Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but avoid excessive exercise. On extremely hot or humid days, try to walk your dog in the early morning, preferably before sunrise, or later in the evening after the sun sets.
Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar and identification tag. If you are separated from your pet, an ID tag may very well be his or her ticket home.
Traveling in Cars/Trucks:
Never leave pets in parked cars for any period of time. Every summer, animals left in parked cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke. On a warm day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature in a car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes. Dogs and cats can't perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. If you see an animal in a parked car during the summer, alert the management of the shopping mall or grocery store. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police.
It is very dangerous, and in some cases illegal, to drive with a dog in the back of a pick-up truck. Not only can flying debris cause serious injury, but a dog may be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes, swerves, or is hit by another car. Dogs should ride in the cab of the pick-up, in a crate or wearing a seat belt harness designed for dogs. If you absolutely have to have your dog in the back of a pick-up, be sure he is in a well-secured crate in the bed of the truck, or better yet, leave him at home.
A type of heat stress, heatstroke can come on quickly and usually results from overexposure to heat and humidity and from a lack of ventilation.
Signs of heatstroke are panting; staring blankly or appearing anxious; not responding to commands; warm, dry skin; hot body temperature; dehydration; rapid heartbeat; and collapse.
If you think your dog may have heatstroke, call your vet. Spray your dog with a garden hose or put him in a tub of cool (not cold) water to lower body temperature. If water is not available, apply ice packs to the dog's head and neck. Give your dog ice cubes to lick on your way to the vet. Even if your dog appears to be feeling better, an immediate trip to the vet's office can help prevent possible secondary complications.
If, in your travels, you see a dog chained out in the hot summer sun with no shade available, give a bowl of water if possible, then call your local humane society.
If you take your dog to the beach, take water for him to drink -- dogs should not drink seawater or lake-water. Bacteria and other bugs in the water can cause an upset tummy or other illnesses.
At home or away, provide plenty of water and shade. Dogs need hydration and respite from the sun, just like people do. A few ice cubes help keep drinking water cold longer. Pets can get sunburned too, so don't allow your dog to sleep in the hot sun --- even if the old guy loves it!
Not all dogs are great swimmers, and even a great swimmer can get caught in an undertow. To be on the safe side, give your dog a life preserver, available at pet supply stores, especially if you plan to take your dog on a boat. Pets and swimming pools can equal disaster. Prevent free access to pools and always supervise a pet in a pool.
Some dogs are initially afraid of water and some dogs will never like swimming and water activities. If your dog doesn't jump right in or seems afraid of the water at first, let him/or her get used to it gradually. Never throw a nervous, inexperienced swimmer in the water. With gentle encouragement most dogs will soon realize that they can "do the doggie paddle" quite well.
At home and while traveling, keep your dog away from any source of stagnant water. Drinking polluted standing water that contains certain types of algae can cause rapid, serious illness and death. Ingesting even a small amount of a blue-green algae is extremely dangerous.
Many dogs enjoy a plastic child's wading pool in the back yard to play in and cool off in the summertime. Since dogs will inevitably drink their pool water no matter how many bowls of fresh clean water are nearby, and since it will get dirty much faster than a pool used by many rowdy children, change the water at least once a day.
Mosquitoes can carry a parasite that infects your dog with heartworm disease. Take your dog to your vet each year before mosquito season begins, and have him checked for heartworm and other internal parasites. Your vet can prescribe a heartworm prevention program. (Most West Nile virus infections have been identified in wild birds and horses. Although the virus can infect dogs and cats, the risk of illness is very low, but it is still a good idea to keep your dogs indoors at peak mosquito times, dusk and dawn.)
Fleas and ticks are more plentiful in the summer. Groom your dog regularly and look carefully for ticks and fleas. Your vet can prescribe medication to prevent flea and tick infestation, or you can purchase special preventive shampoos, dips, and collars. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter flea and tick products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions. Never use multiple types of flea and tick repellents on a dog at the same time. A mixture of different chemicals can make a dog very sick.
Lawn and garden:
Some plants are hazardous if dogs munch on them. Plan a "pet-safe" garden or do not allow your dog in your garden unsupervised.
Summer is often a time when people fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens. But beware: Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. Residue accumulates on a dog's paws when he runs on a treated area; he could become ill if she licks the chemicals off his paws. Freshly-sprayed lawns are a particular concern if your dog is fond of eating grass. In addition, more than 700 plants can produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals.
Hot pavement or sand can cause footpad problems. If the surface is too hot for your bare feet (you can check the pavement with your hand), it's too hot for your dog's.
To remove sticky tar, rub the dog's footpads with petroleum jelly, wash with a mild soap and water, and rinse well. Do not use kerosene or turpentine; they irritate the skin and can be toxic.
Antifreeze. In warm weather, cars can overheat and leak antifreeze. This substance is highly toxic to dogs; take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect that she has ingested antifreeze. Store your antifreeze in a locked cabinet or on a high shelf, and dispose of spills promptly.
Have a safe and happy summer with your pets!