Summer is here, the parks are filled with dogs, and although you firmly believe your dog to be a Very Good Boy whom you love dearly and deeply, you may be inadvertently putting your furry friend at risk this summer by failing to observe some simple — but not completely obvious — rules.

For example, the stainless steel bowls you dutifully leave around the house and yard filled with water can turn dangerously hot in direct sunlight. The sidewalks you clomp down in your Vans in the smiling sunshine, might be boiling hot torture on your puppy’s paws.

For some reason I don’t wish to examine, I am on the mailing list for Pet Insurance Australia, who send out such general advice for pet-owners dealing with the heat. “Some basic steps can literally mean the difference between life and death during this time of year,” writes Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia.

Below are her tips for protecting your pets this summer:

  • SHADE – Checking your pet has ample shade and erecting shade cloth. This may include monitoring the space, as many areas which are shaded first thing in the morning, become sun drenched during the peak of the day.
  • HAIR – Clipping long haired breeds. Many pet owners choose to clip their animals around this time of year to help with over-heating.
  • WATER – Keep a few water bowls around the home and steer clear of using stainless steel bowls. These types of water bowls heat up very quickly during warmer weather.
  • CREATIVE – get creative, not only will it help with boredom it can also help keep your pet cool. Frozen ice-cream containers with treats make a wonderful chunk of playful ice (or ice-cubes for cats). Children’s clam-shell half filled with water is also a great cool-off spot for a dog.
  • SUN SMART – walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, and be diligent. If your dog is overly panting it’s time to stop and relax. Always touch the back of pavements with the back of your hand before heading off for a walk. If it’s too hot for you, it will be too hot for your dog’s paws. Consider sun-screen or sun-suits for white dogs and keep white cats inside and away from direct sunlight.

Her final point is the most salient, DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOGS IN A HOT CAR. Cracking the windows does not help – the car heats at the same rate regardless of this. Crighton cites a Standford University study that shows even at a pleasant 22 degrees outside, the temperature in your car will hit 47.2 degrees within 60 minutes.

“If it’s hot outside, your cars internal temperature will climb to an unbearable and life-threatening level”, she explains. “You can try this yourself, sit in a car for a few minutes with the windows cracked and see how quickly you become uncomfortable.

“For a dog, this can be a death sentence.”

Tell Us What You Think