Whether you’re looking forward to spending summer with your own pets or your Rover dogs, it’s important to remember that summer comes with its own unique challenges, including overheating and dog escapes. Follow these tips to make sure your canine companions stay cool and close to home.
Tip #1: Never leave a dog in a parked car
Want to take your Rover dog on a car ride? Make sure to get the owner’s permission first, and never leave a dog alone in a parked car. In many states, it’s illegal to leave your dog in a car. Here’s why: When it’s only 75 degrees out, temperatures inside a parked car can reach over 100 degrees in just ten minutes—even with the windows open. A dog’s normal body temperature is higher than humans’—100-102.5°F—and their ability to cool their bodies is limited to panting. As a result, temperatures that are uncomfortable for people can be deadly for dogs. Leave dogs at home if they can’t accompany you, or have an adult or responsible teenager stay in the car so they can run the air conditioning.
If you ever see a dog left alone in a car on a warm day, please notify store employees or animal control right away. Even if the windows are cracked or the air conditioning is on, dogs still can’t keep their bodies from overheating. Remember: Speaking up may save a life!
Tip #2: Watch out for heatstroke
Looking forward to spending the summer playing long games of fetch? Make sure to keep an eye out for signs that your Rover dog is experiencing heatstroke. According to the American Kennel Club, some symptoms of heatstroke are:
- heavy panting
- excessive thirst
- glazed eyes
- bloody diarrhea
- lack of coordination
- a deep purple tongue
- loss of consciousness
According to the Humane Society of the United States, certain dogs are at higher risk for heatstroke, such as older dogs, puppies, overweight dogs, and breeds with shorter muzzles, such as pugs, Boston terriers, and bulldogs. These breeds have an especially hard time in the heat because they don’t pant as efficiently as longer-muzzled dogs. Keep in mind that a dog can be suffering heatstroke but show only a few of these symptoms.
If a dog in your care shows signs of heatstroke, take action immediately:
- Move the dog to a cool, shady environment and offer a small drink of water. Giving a lot of water at once, or water with an excessive amount of ice, might cause the dog to vomit, which will add to the risk of dehydration.
- Start lowering the dog’s body temperature by soaking them in cool water with a wet towel, ice packs, and fans, if available.
- Get the dog to a veterinarian. If it’s an evening or weekend and the dog’s regular vet isn’t available, go to the nearest animal emergency hospital, which you can find with this Google search. Even if it seems that the dog is recovering, they may be dehydrated or experiencing other complications. Veterinarians can continually monitor the dog’s temperature to ensure they make a full recovery.
- When you can, give us—and the dog owner—a call. You can reach our Trust & Safety team 24/7 at 888-727-1140. We’re here for you and the dogs in your care!
Tip #3: Keep dogs cool and hydrated
Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you have to skip your walks. To help keep dogs cool during summer exercise:
- Move walks to the early morning or late evening hours.
- Walk along a shady route.
- Carry a doggie water bottle and collapsible bowl with you for water breaks.
- Avoid asphalt and hot pavement, since it can burn dogs’ paws.
Don’t have A/C? Here’s how you can keep dogs cool at home:
- Make sure your dog has access to plenty of shade and water when they’re outside. If you’re dog sitting, make sure to never leave a dog alone in your yard—they may be able to spot ways to escape that your own dog has ignored for years.
- If your dog normally stays outside for long periods of time, move them inside.
- Keep air circulating inside. Air conditioning is better than fans, but you can also open windows to create a nice cross breeze. Or place a bowl of ice right in front of a fan that oscillates.
- Be sure to have plenty of clean, fresh water available in a few different locations in your home. RedRover suggests adding ice to dog bowls to keep the water cool.
- Try these fun frozen treats made by a sitter on Rover, Amber C.!
- Speaking of frozen treats… check out these awesome recipes. And feel free to share your own in the comments!
Tip #4: Prevent dog escapes
Planning on playing in the yard, or even just letting your Rover dog outside for a quick pee break? Here are some tips to keep them safely in bounds:
Supervise when they’re outside. Even the most docile dogs can be escape artists, especially when they’re in a new environment. Supervise them at all times, even in a fenced yard or on a balcony. Even if your own dog has ignored that hole in the fence for years, a new dog might see it as an opportunity to explore the neighborhood.
Add extra protection around doorways to the outside. When going in and out, make sure dogs stay inside by blocking the path out of the house and car doors. Open doors only far enough for you to get through, and use a second barrier like an exercise pen or baby gate for added security. If you’re staying in the pet parent’s home, ask what kinds of barriers you can use.