As the scorching Coachella Valley summer continues, we need to take extra precautions to protect our 4-legged family members. The summer heat and humidity can take a toll on our dogs, just as it does with people. They may experience overheating, heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn. Dogs cannot sweat the way we humans do because their only sweat glands are in their nose and on the pads of their feet. When they walk on hot sand or concrete, their temperature can rise dangerously. Flat nosed breeds such as Pugs and Boxers, elderly dogs, and young puppies are at greatest risk.

The following safety tips will ensure that Fido enjoys the summer months and stays safe:

Provide plenty of fresh water – Drinking water and panting are the ways your dog cools down. Always provide cool, fresh water for them to drink. A water bowl left outside will heat up and be unbearable for them to drink. When out walking or traveling with your dog, carry along a travel bowl or a no-tip bowl with a hand held water dispenser.


Protect your dog from the sun- Your dog’s skin can actually peel and blister painfully from the intense summer sun. Excessive sun exposure could eventually lead to cancer. Noses and ear tips are particularly vulnerable. While you might want to keep their coat a bit shorter in the hot months, a dog that is shaved down or white coated is more susceptible to sunburn. Don’t use your sunscreen on your dog; pet stores offer sunscreen for dogs. Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside.

Don’t walk or exercise Fido during peak hours– It’s best to walk your dog in the early morning or the evening hours when the sun is not as intense. If you must walk midday, keep your walk short and avoid hot asphalt or pavement that can burn the pads of his feet. If you don’t have a grassy area nearby, purchase a pair of dog booties to protect his feet.

Wear a life vest around water – Sadly, accidental drownings claim the lives of many family pets. You must teach your pup how to get in and out on the steps of the backyard swimming pool in case he falls in. Always supervise your dog’s activity in and around water including the pool and the beach. If you take Benji boating, make sure he wears a doggie life vest in case he jumps or falls into the ocean.

Never leave your dog alone in a car – Dogs love to go for car rides, but unless you take him inside during your errands, leave him at home. It’s against the law in California to leave an unattended dog in a car. During the summer, and during all times of intense sunlight, your car’s temperature can quickly rise to a deadly level.

Be on guard against heat stroke – Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and without treatment it can cause brain damage, heart failure, and even death for your dog. What are some of the signs of heat stroke? Watch for excessive panting, rapid heartbeat, staggering gait, confusion, listlessness, dark red or purple gums, vomiting, seizures and collapse. Lower his temperature immediately by bringing him into a cool area and offering small amounts of cool water. Apply cool soaked towels to his neck and belly. Do not use ice water as this could cause his blood vessels to constrict. Get to the vet immediately for treatment.

Watch out for snakes- Warmer weather can also bring out more of these critters. When walking in rural areas or hiking paths, keep an eye out for snakes. Be careful your dog does not put his nose down a hole that might contain a snake. If a snake bites your dog, proceed to your vet immediately after making sure they carry the anecdote for snake bites. The snake bite vaccination buys you extra time, but is not a cure and you must still proceed to the vet.

Purchase “Cool” products – Today there are lots of new products at pet stores that help Fido keep cool during hot days. A cooling jacket or vest might be a good idea during those midday walks. A dog pool or kiddie pool provides hot weather fun in a shaded area of the back yard, but keep the water level to a safe 5 inches.

Keep Fido Indoors- “Outdoor only” dogs suffer physically in the extreme desert heat. Rising temperatures cause a multitude of medical problems and even death. Dogs also suffer psychologically when devoid of social contact with their humans. Bring Fido indoors and enjoy the company of your best “furfriend”!