Dogs and the sun, a great love story! We all know the advantages that the sun can bring to our pets, as it’s a great source of vitamin D for them, which is beneficial for their teeth and bones.
But there are times of the year, especially during summer and spring, when the solar radiation and temperatures rise excessively and it is advisable to protect your dog from the sun and the harmful effects it can have. In case of carelessness, your dog could suffer from a heatstroke which is very dangerous for their health.
When the mercury rises too high, the best advice we can give is to avoid the sun and keep your dog in the shade in a cool place. Dogs, like humans, suffer from extreme heat, and some breeds suffer more than others. This is the case of those that have a flat muzzle and do not cool themselves well when panting, such as, Bulldogs or Pugs, or those that have a very dense coat to cope with cold weathers, such as, Siberian Huskies or Saint Bernards.
Even if it’s hot, you don’t have to give up outdoor activities. You just need to remember a few basic measures to protect your dog from the sun :
For the most sensitive areas of your dog’s body, such as eyelids, muzzle, abdomen, and ears, there are sunscreens specially formulated for dogs. This must seem surprising but are useful to protect your dog from the sun at the beach or on a hike if your dog has short, light, or sparse fur. If your dog has long hair, then you don’ need to apply sunscreen as the thick coat prevents the sun’s rays from reaching its skin and the cream would also leave a very sticky finish, forming knots.
Hydration as a top priority
It is essential to keep your dog well hydrated at all times. Just as humans lose water when cooling our bodies by sweating, dogs lose water by panting and through their pads where their sweat glands are located. Always keep a bottle of water or a portable water bowl handy to hydrate your dog on a regular basis. If the temperature is very high, you could get your dog wet to lower the body temperature a bit, either directly by diving into the water, with a hose with a gentle stream, or by applying damp cloths.
Protect your dog from the sun … right down to the paw pads
You’ve been making sure that your dog doesn’t get too hot, stays well hydrated, and doesn’t burn from the sun’s rays. However, you might have missed an important part of their anatomy: the paw pads! If you wouldn’t think of walking barefoot on a boiling hot summer afternoon, you should know that it won’t do your dog any good either. Although their paws are a little less delicate than the soles of our feet, they can still suffer from burns and irritation. To avoid this, we recommend planning your dog’s walks, looking for shade and garden areas whenever possible, and wetting their paws from time to time. A good trick to check if the ground is too hot for your dog to walk is by touching the ground with the palm of your hand for five seconds – if you stand the heat, then neither can your pet!