9 Tips For Enjoying That Summer Hike With Your Dog

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Summer's the season to be outdoors. But for dogs the warm weather isn't necessarily the best time for a hike. Keep these 9 tips in mind when you make that summer hike with your dog:

  1. Coats matter. Long-haired breeds will overheat quicker and dark-coated dogs will absorb the sun's heat. Short-haired dogs and light-colored breeds can get sunburn.
  2. Beware of insect bites. If your dog is bitten or stung, remove the stinger and watch the site for an allergic reaction. If this occurs or there have been multiple wasp, bee or mosquito bites, take the animal to the vet.
  3. Pay attention to your dog as you hike along. Dogs don't sweat; their only way to reduce body heat is by panting. While normal panting on a hot day is to be expected for just this reason if your dog begins to labor or his tongue gets abnormally pink - cut your hike short.
  4. Check your dog after your hike for fleas and ticks.
  5. If you hike with your dog near residential property be aware that most lawn and garden products may be hazardous.
  6. The Great Outdoors exposes dogs to the elements. Dogs may need extra brushing and bathing to keep their coats clean and healthy.
  7. Tailor your summer canine hikes to the heat. Try to avoid strenuous exercise with your dog on extremely hot days and refrain from physical activity when the sun's heat is most intense.
  8. Always, always make sure your dog has access to fresh water. Always.
  9. Of course, never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight or in a closed vehicle. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death. Signs of heatstroke are excessive panting, drooling, rapid pulse and fever. Immediately immerse the dog in cool water and seek emergency veterinary assistance. If you absolutely must leave your dog in the car, park in the shade, make sure the windows are slightly ajar so he can get air, and leave some fresh water.