Yes, Your Dog Can Sunburn — Here’s How to Keep Canines Safe in Summer

Dog looking out car window on country road.
Photo by Christin Lola / Shutterstock.com

Everyone thinks they know how much heat their dog can withstand. Many misjudge. The results are often tragic.

Veterinarian Judy Morgan is on a mission to prevent these tragedies.

“Every year I treat dozens of pets suffering from heat exhaustion,” said Morgan, author of “From Needles to Natural: Learning Holistic Pet Healing” and other books. “Take the pet out of the car for any emergency stop if you can’t leave the air conditioner running.”

Sound extreme? On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 100 to 120 degrees in less than 10 minutes, according to PETA. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can soar to 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Parking in the shade and cracking the windows open aren’t sufficient to keep your dog or other pet safe. And don’t think you can fan the dog. They sweat through their feet, so they aren’t cooled by fanning as humans are.

But there are ways to keep your dog safe in the heat, even when you’re with them in the car or don’t have an air-conditioned home. Consider these six expert ways to help your dog beat the heat.

1. Team up

Dog in sunglasses
Travelling.About / Shutterstock.com

Are you out and about with your dog and need to run an errand? Team up with another person or even a fellow dog owner. Have one person sit with the dog in the shade or sit in an air-conditioned car while one person runs the errand, recommends the editors of CanineJournal.com.

2. Take your dog along

Little white dog in grocery shopping cart.
PongMoji / Shutterstock.com

Many stores allow animals to accompany their owners inside. A Washington, D.C.-area woman was charged with felony animal cruelty last year after she left her dog in a car when she went into a PetSmart, which welcomes pets. The dog died when temperatures inside the car exceeded 90 degrees, reported WTOP News in Fairfax, Virginia. If the store you want to visit has a no pets policy, take the dog home and go another time, recommend experts.

3. Prepare for an emergency

Dog in car passenger side.
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

What if you are traveling alone with your dog and must use a restroom? Veterinarian Morgan said she would take the dog into the air conditioning, even if there were signs prohibiting animals. Hesitant to do that? When you leave home with your dog take a bowl, water (both bottled and frozen), and a second set of car keys, recommends Beverly Cambron, of the International Boarding & Pet Services Association. If the need to use a restroom arises, park in the shade with the air conditioning running and soft music playing on the radio, and leave a note on the dash that says: “The air conditioner is on, my pet is listening to music, and I will return in two minutes.” Lock the car door. This can still be dangerous, but it’s a viable option if you MUST leave your pet very briefly.

4. Be aware of tender paws

Dog on cobblestone street.
Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock.com

It’s important to protect a dog’s feet from hot pavement, said Morgan. “I … see pets with burned feet from hot pavement,” she said, recommending you limit longer walks to early morning and late evenings. “Always walk pets in the grass if possible. Hot sand at the beach is another consideration. If your feet can’t take the heat, neither can theirs.”

5. Reconsider playtime

Dog playing with toy inside.
JaiMejia / Shutterstock.com

It’s a good idea to teach your pet to play indoor games of hide and seek, find the treats or gentle ball play during the summer. That way they can burn off some energy and you won’t worry about heat. Try to take your dog out primarily in the earning morning or late evening. “Pets most affected by the heat are the brachycephalic breeds (pushed in faces, short noses) and seniors. Be especially gentle with them,” said Morgan. “We also occasionally see water toxicity from pets ingesting too much water while playing with the hose or in the pool. This can cause fatal swelling of the brain.”

6. Special care for older pets

Old boxer dog on a chair
Holly Michele / Shutterstock.com

“If you live in a house with no air conditioning, consider putting your pet in the coolest part of the house and gating the area off,” said Lisa Lunghofer, executive director of The Grey Muzzle Organization, which is focused on elderly pets. “It could even be the basement, but make sure there are no other hazards there.”

7. Guard against sunburn

Two dogs under an umbrella
cham.shutter / Shutterstock.com

Just like humans, dogs can get sunburn. But don’t slather your sunscreen on the dog. Many contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, notes VetStreet. Your best bet? Keep your dog out of the sun especially between the prime burning hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dogs do their best to make their human owners happy. Follow the above tips to keep your pet happy, especially during the dog days of summer.

What precautions do you take with your dog? Are there special considerations for the breed? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement
Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement

No. 1 isn’t visiting grandkids, and No. 4 might surprise you.

8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths
8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths

Think you’re ready to buy a house? Don’t fall victim to these rookie mistakes.

10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors
10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors

These schools let retirement-age students study, tuition-free, while earning college credit.

9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean

We’ve rounded up some of the best products for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and every other room.

The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money

There’s still time this summer to make improvements to the exterior of your home. These offer the best payback.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

17 Everyday Products Now Facing Shortages
17 Everyday Products Now Facing Shortages

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

9 Groups Who Should Brace for Higher Income Taxes
9 Groups Who Should Brace for Higher Income Taxes

Recent proposals would hike taxes for people with a wide range of incomes.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target

No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it’s smart to shop elsewhere.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores
8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores

For one expert, these secondhand bargains stand out from the rest.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Retirees can dial back the intensity of work while continuing to bring in a paycheck.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.