San Francisco’s (late) summer is upon us, finally, and taking your dog out for a walk is a great way to enjoy some time in the sun, but as the temperatures climb, you may need to take some precautions to make sure you and your dog are safe and happy. Much like people, dogs can get heatstroke and sunburns, also 99% of dogs don’t wear shoes, and hot asphalt can cause burns and injuries to their sensitive paws!
Here are five quick tips to help keep your furry friend cool when the weather gets hot!
- Change up your walk times!
The hottest parts of the day are the late morning, mid-day, and afternoon. Shifting your walks to earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky will make a big difference, especially for sidewalk temperatures!
- Bring water with you!
Carry a travel bowl and an extra bottle of water (as well as one for you), and make frequent stops to let your dog have a drink. Staying hydrated will go a long way to keeping your pup cool!
- Consider investing in paw balm and doggie sunscreen!
I think paw balm is great for all dogs and can go a long way— putting a bit on before and after a walk will really help keep them comfy. Cement can be up to 30°F warmer than the ambient air temperature, and asphalt can be as much as 60°F warmer! The initial pain threshold for dog paws is around 120°F, which can be reached on asphalt as early as 90°F ambient temperature. With that in mind….
- Stick to the shade!
This one should be fairly obvious, but keeping the direct sun off your dog is beneficial for so many reasons, including direct heat, sun exposure, surface temperatures, and dehydration. It’s also good for you too!
- Moderate your pace, and keep an eye on your dog’s behavior!
Sometimes we really just want to go far and fast, but when it’s hot out, that can be detrimental to the walk experience. Dogs don’t sweat like we do, and so most of their thermoregulation through panting. If your dog is breathing hard, panting becomes less efficient at keeping them cool!
If your dog is panting abnormally hard, showing signs of lethargy, peeing too much or too little, or any of the other signs of severe dehydration or heat stroke, cool off your dog and get home as quickly and safely as possible (an air-conditioned car being the best way), and call your vet. If your dog is experiencing heatstroke, it is important to get them to the veterinarian quickly*.
Summer can be a super fun time to be out and about with your dog, and we hope you are able to make the best of the good weather, but please keep yourself and your dog happy, healthy, and safe!
*: Sniff and Go are not veterinarians and should not be construed as giving veterinary advice. If you have any questions of that nature, please talk to a veterinarian.
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