Summer in Austin means patio seating at restaurants, sunshine filled hikes, and enjoying the breeze off of Lady Bird Lake. There are many fun activities for you and your pup to enjoy, but when is hot, too hot for your dog? Staying hydrated and cool is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. We’ve gathered some heat safety tips and our favorite water bottles to help you and your furry friend live it up this summer!
There are some key similarities and differences between humans and dogs when it comes to the heat. While humans sweat to bring their body temperature down, dogs actually expel heat through their paws. Like humans, however, dogs can get sunburned. Dogs with white or thin coats, hairless breeds, and dogs with light pigmented skin around their noses or eyelids are more at risk for sunburn. Luckily, there is dog sunscreen! Make sure that the sunscreen is specifically formulated for dogs and that it is zinc oxide free and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) free. These common human sunscreen ingredients are toxic to dogs if ingested, and dogs commonly lick their fur and skin. Make sure the sunscreen is waterproof, unscented, and has an SPF of about 30 (if listed). We like the sunscreen sprays Bodhi Dog Sunscreen and Emmy’s Best Dog Sun Skin Protector Spray from Amazon and also the My Dog Nose It! Sun Protection Balm from Chewy for sensitive dogs’ snouts, ears, and bellies. Reapply every 4-6 hours to make sure your pup stays burn free.
During hot days, limit physical activities to the mornings or evenings when the sun is not at its peak. If you’re unsure if the pavement is too hot, touch it. If it burns you, it will probably be too hot for your pup. We use Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax during hot summers to protect little paws from hot pavement, stone, and even hot sand! This is also great in the winter if your dog is sensitive to icey streets or if you go to a place that puts salt down. Apply the wax about once a week for continuous protection from the hot ground.
Our Favorite Water Bottles
Always make sure you have cold water for you and your dog when it is hot out. Some restaurants, stores, and parks put out water for passing pups, but it’s always good to bring extra along just in case. If your dog is wary about drinking out of new bowls, have them practice so they are ready during summer outings. There are also bottles specifically designed for doggie hydration with an attached bowl. We like the ease of the lesotc Pet Water Bottle for Dogs whose rubber bowl folds over and PupFlask Large Dog Water Bottle whose bowl flips over the side, both from Amazon. Check out the size of the bowls and bottles to make sure your dog will be comfortable drinking from it. Both allow for undrunk water to return to the reservoir so make sure to bring your own! If you want to see the different options of bottle before you buy, you can head over to one of the many specialty dog stores in Austin to see what option would be best for you and your dog.
Ways to Protect Your Pup from Overheating
All dogs need to be watched in hot weather to make sure they are drinking water and not overexerting themselves. All dogs need water, shade, and breaks, but brachycephalic dogs, or dogs with shorter snouts, can’t pant as easily and can quickly get overheated. Watch your dog to make sure that they are not overheating. Symptoms of overheating include excessive panting, glazed eyes, and rapid heartbeat. If your pup seems to be getting too hot, bring them inside if you have air conditioning. Set up some ice packs or cold towels on their neck and chest or run some cool (not cold!) water on their bodies and give them small drinks of water or allow them to lick ice cubes. If they seem weak or lethargic or if their temperature is over 104, take them to the vet. Ask your vet for more information if you have specific questions about your dog’s health.
Check out our Dog Friendly Hikes in South Austin for a list of hikes to take your furry friend on. Stay tuned for our post about dog friendly patios! With water, shade, and maybe some sunscreen, your pup will have as much fun as you will this summer.