How to Thrive with Your Pup Through the Dog Days of Summer

Bivvy

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July 21, 2022

It’s here, Bivvy fam! Sweet, sweet summertime. We can’t wait for you and your pups to dive in wholeheartedly to the adventures this season will have in store for you, whether you’re doing #lakelife or the beach, camping with your pup somewhere in the wild, or road trippin’.

And while you and your dog are living it up together this summer, keep their comfort in mind. Remember that they wear a perma-fur coat year-round. Here are some pointers on how to groom your dog for summer, and other tips to keep them cool. So read up, then get out there and enjoy all the freedom and adventure that this season has to offer with your pup!

Beware of Heatstroke

A dog’s temperature should never exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. They have high body core temperatures, so really, if it gets to be 80 degrees outside, you need to use real discernment and begin taking precautions. In some parts of the country, the temperature can get there early in the day and stay until the evening. So, it’s up to you to manage their environment. And don’t walk on asphalt in the heat.

Heatstroke is when the body heats to a dangerous level, and it can lead to critical organ failure or be life-threatening. It can cause nausea, brain damage, and fainting. Symptoms include:

 

If you see these, get your dog to a cool place ASAP, and offer plenty of water. Put a cool, wet towel on his underside. If there’s no improvement in a couple minutes, take your dog to your vet or to an animal emergency center.

Brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds are at an increased risk of heatstroke because their airways aren’t as effective at delivering oxygen and cooling them down. Overweight and elderly dogs are also at a greater risk of overheating.

If you’re going to exercise your dog, do it outside of peak heat hours. Don’t tether your dog outside in your yard in the heat, especially if there’s no shade for him to retreat to. Don’t leave him in an outdoor kennel either, that doesn’t provide an escape from the sun and heat. And never leave your dog in the car, even only for a few minutes. The interior of a car can go from 70 degrees to 120 in a half hour or less. And look into cooling vests and cooling mats for an innovative way to keep him cool!

Maintain a Reliable Hydration Station

One of the most important ways you can care for your dog in the summer heat is to keep him hydrated! Make sure he always has access to fresh water and shade. Provide multiple bowls of water in case one gets knocked over, or add ice cubes to it to keep it cooler and more interesting. Take a travel water bottle or bowl with you when you go out. And keep an eye on their water supply—if left standing for too long, bacteria can grow in it. And if your dog’s not drinking enough water, you can add tasty additives from the pet store to it, or low-sodium chicken or beef broth.

Get Them a Cool Summer ‘Do

Consult your veterinarian and/or an experienced groomer on this one, as not all breeds should be shaved. A dog’s hair can be a protectant from the sun but can also make them too hot. But a dog with a double coat (think of a Husky’s coat) actually has the perfect temperature-regulating system that keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But *some* breeds would benefit from a summer trim. Consult your vet on what your dog’s proper coat length is for the warmer months.

Generally, you don’t ever want to have your dog shaved down to the skin, just the hair trimmed. And if your dog has white fur or super-short hair, sunscreen isn’t a bad idea over the summer! Just make sure it’s an explicitly pet-friendly kind.

But if you do get the go-ahead for a slick summer groom, it can have more benefits than you might think. It’s not just about your pup looking stylish or removing hair, but it also keeps an eye on all parts of their body. Your groomer can catch any abnormalities early and you can act on them before they turn serious.

By the way, it’s also a good idea to brush your dog yourself regularly. It gets rid of mats and dead hair that can trap in heat. 

Don’t Get Bit by a Summer Bug

Grooming can come in handy here too. Fleas and ticks are very active in the summer. And when your pup gets groomed, the groomer can check for bugs and bites. These pests can be found in almost any outdoor summery climate. They’re common in tall grass, the forest, and woodpiles. Or your dog can get them from other animals.

Check your pup regularly, and apply a preventive like a topical cream, or give an oral pill, or even have them wear a flea collar. Your best bet is to ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

Bivvy Wellness Care is an add-on to Bivvy pet health insurance for just $9 a month. It covers flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, and gives coverage for other summer bug-related routine and preventative expenses like deworming.

Your Dog’s Built-in Cooling System

As you’ve probably heard, panting helps dogs cool down. It causes air to flow over the moist surfaces in their upper airways. If your dog needs to be muzzled when you go out, don’t use a tight-fitting one he can’t pant or breathe through. A basket-style muzzle with big wickets is best.

Dogs are resourceful too. If you see your pup digging a hole outside this summer, that may actually be them trying to cool down, as the undersoil they’ll expose will be cooler than the surface.

Go For a Dip

Yep, getting your dog a wading pool is a great idea! Just make sure it’s a shallow, wading pool. Put them in one much deeper than that, and they might not be able to get out, and time in there unsupervised could be dangerous.

Take Summer Gardening Precautions

If you’ll be spending time in the garden this summer with your little four-legged companion, keep in mind that fertilizers and insecticides can be poisonous to dogs. And some plants are too. Check out our list here.

Whip Up a Summer Treat

It is summer break, after all—treat your dog to something indulgent and out of the ordinary that will also keep them cool. Pet stores, grocery stores, and even some fast-food drive thru’s and coffee shops sell or give free small tastes of ice cream and popsicles made for dogs, and other dog-friendly indulgences.

Or make your own! Pinterest is full of DIY recipes for summery dog treats with ingredients like yogurt, chicken broth, grated carrot and apple, and peanut butter.

Soak up all kinds of summer fun with your pup! And if you’re looking for the best pet insurance for your pet family, be sure to check out Bivvy. Having dog insurance for this summer’s adventures will give you peace of mind in case you run into any trouble and find yourself strapped with a big vet bill.

Bivvy is here for you and your dog! From all of us, have a wonderful summer.

 

 

*Bivvy Wellness Care availability is dependent on your state.

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