WAXHAW, NC – As summer is almost here and the days become warmer and warmer, it is important to protect your dogs from too much sun. To help keep your furbabies safe during the summer here are some easy tips to follow.
Under no circumstances should you leave your pet unattended in a locked car, even if you roll the windows down. The temperature inside a car is usually 20 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. Dogs do not sweat the same way humans do. They cool themselves off through panting, which becomes that much harder with hot air. On an 85 degree day, it can take ten minutes for the inside temperature of the car to reach 102 degrees! Within that same time frame, a dog can easily develop heat stroke and suffocate in the car. If you see a dog locked in an unattended vehicle and they appear to be suffering, do not break into the car. North Carolina does not currently protect good samaritans. Please call animal control, police, fire, or rescue and they are legally allowed to remove the dog from the vehicle by any means necessary after trying to locate the owner.
If you are like me, you love to take a walk with your dog on a nice sunny day but we must all be mindful of how hot asphalt and pavement can get as the day gets warmer. A good rule of thumb for checking to see if the surface your pet will be walking on is too hot is to place the back of your hand on the surface. If it is too hot for the back of your hand then it is too hot for your pet’s paw pads. During the summer keep your pet’s walks shorter, walk them during the early morning or late evening, and bring plenty of water for your dog; panting and drinking water is the primary ways a dog stays cool.
If you think dogs cannot get sunburn, think again. Dogs with light-colored coats, short coats, and shaved coats with exposed skin are all highly vulnerable to sunburn. But don’t rush to put any human sunblock on your dog, not all are pet-friendly. Select a sunscreen that is fragrance-free, non-staining, and contains UVA and UVB barriers similar to SPF 15 or SPF 30 for humans. Baby sunscreen may be safe for pets but you want to make sure it is safe if ingested. Certain ingredients such as octyl salicylate and zinc are toxic if licked. As always, please consult with your veterinarian to make sure the sunblock is safe for your pet.