Here in So. Cal it seems we get more clouds, drizzle and chill in June than we do in February. Still, now that the summer is beginning and our calendars are filling with fun outdoor activities, I felt it was important to share tips on how to help your dog keep their cool during hot weather.
I recently took over as the organizer for the Lakewood/Long Beach Pug Lover's Meet-Up Group and we hold monthly events at our local dog beach. I feel it's so important for everyone to be aware of safety tips and signs of overheating. Pugs and other brachycephalic breeds (dogs with flat faces and short noses, such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, Pekinese, and Shih tzus), older pets, dogs that are ill or have a chronic health condition, and dogs not used to warm weather are extremely susceptible to overheating so be mindful of the following signs:
Heavy panting or rapid breathing
Elevated body temperature
Bright or dark red tongue and gums
Increased pulse and heartbeat
If you dog is exhibiting any of the above symptoms you need to to start cooling them down immediately and keep close watch on their behavior.
Take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic IMMEDIATELY if you notice any of the following
SIGNS OF LIFE-THREATENING OVERHEATING:
Weakness and collapse
Now that you are aware of the warning signs here's how to keep your puggy from getting overheated in the first place.
⛱ BEACH SAFETY 101 ⛱
Before you head out for the beach, I recommend bringing an umbrella, tent or Easy-Up so you have a shady spot for your dog to retreat from the sun. You’ll also want to bring 2 large towels or blankets. It's good idea to have one for your dog to lay on. as well as one you can soak and use to cool your dog off if they get overheated.
If the sand sand is burning your tootsies, you can bet it will burn your doggie's paws. Make sure you put them in booties or socks if they are too large a dog to carry across the hot sand.
Fresh drinking water and a bowl are MUSTS. Always have fresh water to keep your doggie hydrated and also so they are not tempted to drink seawater or from pools of standing water which may be filthy. Also communal water bowls can provide a lot more than hydration in the form of parasites and nasty doggy germs. Have your own bowl of water handy.
Many people don't realize dogs are susceptible to sunburn. The most sensitive dogs are:
and if course hairless dogs.
For those breeds, I recommend a T shirt, sun-shirt with UV protection or a cooling vest which shields from harmful rays and keeps dogs from overheating. I also recommend getting a sunscreen for your dog. Please note, make sure the sunscreen is a formula safe for dogs. Human sunscreens can contain ingredients (such as zinc) which are toxic if ingested. Be sure to cover your dog's nose, ears, belly, and inside hind legs. Remember to apply more sunscreen if your dog is plauying in the water and getting wet.
Along with sun safety, you'll need to be equally prepared to keep your sweetie safe in the water. Pugs, Bulldogs and many other breeds are not typically strong swimmers (actually they're more prone to sink like rocks) I would recommend a life vest if you're out at the beach, in a boat or on open water. Even with a life vest you must supervise your dog in the water. An unexpected wave, rip current, rapids or even stepping on a dead bee, sharp coral or jellyfish can be hazardous.
Always give your dog a rinse with fresh water after your dog has been swimming in the ocean. Salt water be drying and irritating to your dogs paws and coats. (Coconut oil is a great natural conditioning lotion you can rub on your dog's coat before and after a trip to the beach. If your dog has floppy, hanging ears or is prone to chronic ear infections, I would advise using earplugs to prevent them from getting wet. Also follow with an ear rinse when you return home.
And finally, just a few "Golden Rules" for the dog beach. Remember beaches depend on all of us to keep them safe and clean. Bring waste disposal bags. -and maybe a few extras for those who may not be as conscientious. Be the bigger person who picks up and takes care of keeping the beach safe and clean. So many people don't.
Hold off on visiting a dog beach or park until your dog is trusted to obey commands. If you are dog sitting, have a new shelter or rescue dog. this may pose too much danger until you are more familiar with your pet. Many people love letting their dogs run around off-leash (I'm one of them) but if your dog isn't consistent with following your commands I recommend for everyone's safety you keep them on a leash until they are better trained. It can extremely hazardous if your dog is racing down the beach and not aware of a potential dangerous situation.
It goes without saying if your dog may be sick, is lethargic, has the runs, or is in heat, do not visit the beach, dog park or any other public dog area.
Be attentive to your dog. This is not the time or place to relax with a good book or your nose in your cellphone. Be on the lookout. A fun run down the beach chasing a ball can quickly turn to an aggressive dog fight. If you notice play getting a bit rough and you are concerned, call your dog and distract them with some one-one-one play or engage with another dog If everyone adheres to some basic safety precautions we can cut down on a lot of injuries. Let's keep dog friendly beaches a fun place to make memories. Pugs & kisses 😘 See you at the beach.⛱