We look forward to the summertime each year for a lot of reasons. Not only is it great for enjoying the warm weather and some much-needed relaxation, but it is also perfect for spending some quality adventuring time with our furry friends. Even though summer is typically carefree for many of us, as pet parents we must remember that there are a few things we should keep under consideration for maintaining our dogs’ health in the summer heat. In this article, Freshpet covers a few ways to keep your dog happy and healthy as we look to have some fun this summer season.

Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Dogs naturally cool themselves by panting, but it is not a perfect system and your dog can get dehydrated if they are overexerted. To combat this, always make sure that your dog has access to fresh, cool water both in the house and on outside adventures. You can also help keep your dog healthy and hydrated in the summer months by giving them access to natural dog foods and treats meant to keep them cool. For example, healthy dog foods and frozen treats made from fruits can give your dog much needed electrolytes and hydration while also helping them keep their temperature down. When making your own treats to keep your dog hydrated, always keep in mind what foods dogs can and can’t healthily consume. Pet parents should also always be sure to look out for dehydration signs such as an increased heart rate, restlessness, labored breathing, and excessive drooling.

Provide Protection Against Parasites

Pesky bugs such as mosquitos, fleas, ticks, and other parasites are much more active during the summer than other months. As a result, pet parents should be vigilant as to protect their dogs against the transfer of tapeworms, heartworms, and the diseases that parasites can carry. The best way to do this is to keep up to date with your dog’s flea and tick prescriptions, and always check for pests after bringing your dog through wooded or grassy areas that are known to harbor them. Parasites can also enter your dog’s system through other methods such as standing water and other animals’ feces, so it is a great idea to make sure that your dog doesn’t mess with these possible vectors of disease when they are out and about. If you notice any trademark signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, or difficulty breathing, consult your veterinarian as it could be due to parasitic infection.

Check in on Your Pet

The high temperatures associated with summer can have effects on our dogs that we should keep a lookout for. For example, even if we are doing our best to keep our pets supplied with healthy dog food that they usually love, we may find that they are eating less in response to the heat. While a lowered appetite is normal for some dogs when temperatures rise, there are still a few things pet parents can do to ensure that they stay healthy. Switching from dry kibble to fresh, natural dog foods that contain more moisture can be a great way to keep your dog hydrated through their meals. Changing your dog’s feeding routine slightly can also be a good idea if you find that the heat negatively impacts their appetites. Providing your pet with a high-moisture, fresh healthy dog food during cooler hours of the day can support a healthy appetite throughout the summer.

Be Mindful While Exercising

The summer can be an excellent time to get some exercise with our dogs, but be sure not to overexert them as it could quickly lead to heatstroke if you are not careful. Consider toning down your exercise during the summer months if possible, perhaps by steering clear of very long walks and strenuous exercise on particularly bright and sunny days. Dogs can also get sunburn too and finding a shady spot to get some fresh air and exercise can do wonders for avoiding the negative impact that the sun can have on our pets’ skin. Some experts recommend walking dogs at cooler points in the day such as in the early morning or evening as it reduces the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion. As always, have water ready just incase of extreme thirst or a heat related emergency.