They don’t call them “dog days” for nothing: Summer is a great time to enjoy your pet, whether it means more outdoor time, travel, or just keeping cool at home. Here are a few tips to make sure your pet enjoys the season as much as you do.

Panting

Dogs have few sweat glands and use the panting mechanism to get rid of excess heat. But even if a dog is panting, it doesn’t mean he is uncomfortable — it just means his internal mechanism has kicked in to keep him cool. The faster and more shallow the panting, the more heat the dog is trying to release from its body.

Flat-Faced Dogs

Dogs with flat faces have a harder time breathing and panting. We suggest putting ice cubes in a tube sock and loosely wrapping it around their necks.

Cooling Down Your Dogs

Here are a few ideas to relieve your dog in summer’s heat while outdoors: Replace the water in a kiddy pool with ice, place a fan outside the kennel for them to lie in front of, or give them a dirt area to dig down into the earth and create a cool den.

Off-Leash Obedience

Summer is for running free — all the more reason your dog should obey your commands. One type of training you might want to investigate is an “attention” class. Even if your dog focuses on you indoors, outside he may think it’s a free-for-all with so much distraction. In attention class, you spend eight weeks doing nothing but getting your dog’s attention focused on you with a single word command. It works wonders for people in competitive obedience. Look to a local dog club for a trainer for such a class.

Thunderstorms

Use a dryer sheet to help with thunderstorm phobias. Anxiety in a pet during a thunderstorm isn’t the flashes of light or the sound, but a buildup of static electricity in their coat. Rub a dryer sheet on the coat to remove the static electricity. It will reduce or eliminate the pet’s extreme anxiety and discomfort. (This method works about 50% of the time.)

Pet First Aid

Good weather means more outdoor time for pets, which comes with increased risks. Be prepared for heat exhaustion; insect bites; and bee, wasp, hornet, and yellow jacket stings, according to pet expert Marc Morrone and veterinarian Nick Sitinas.

Swimming in the Pool

A dog’s eyes, nose and ears may be more sensitive than a human’s and as such may be a tad more susceptible to the effects of chlorine, but that shouldn’t keep Rover from a refreshing dip in the pool. Just take care to keep him from ingesting too much chlorinated water. As for the ears, most infections in dogs with floppy ears are caused by water and dampness, not the chlorine in the water.

Puppies Outdoors

Until they build up their immunity, puppies are susceptible to diseases carried by wildlife. Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) is carried by a number of wildlife carnivorous species such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, otters, weasels, coyotes, wolves, and even mink. It is spread through the secretions and excretions of infected animals usually in airborne particles that other animals, including dogs, can breathe in. Rabies is similarly passed through secretions but usually as the result of a bite from a rabid host. Click on the link below for ways to keep your puppy safe.

Heavy Coated Dogs

Heavy-coated breeds may appear to suffer more in hot weather because of the massive amounts of coat. However, this is not the case, says AKC expert Lisa Peterson. The coat on a dog acts as insulation from both hot and cold air temperatures. The coat traps the air close to the body which is the same temperature as their body. Most people think that by shaving off the coat they are doing the dog a favor, but shaving a dog down to the skin you not only increase the risk of heatstroke but sunburn.