7 Common Health Problems in Dogs in Summer

by Jamie Tedder on Jul 10, 2024


While the warmer weather presents opportunities for spending more time outdoors, it also increases the risk of various health issues in dogs. Summer fun can easily escalate into a medical emergency if you're not vigilant.

Understanding the common diseases affecting dogs and knowing how to prevent them by making a few temporary changes in your routine is crucial for every pet parent. Awareness and preparation can help ensure your furry friend enjoys the season safely, whether it's dehydration, parasites, or heat stroke in dogs.

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs face several health issues in the summer, including heatstroke, dehydration, sunburn, and infections like leptospirosis. Understanding these conditions and their symptoms is crucial for early detection and treatment.
  • Preventing these health problems involves providing fresh water, shade, and cooling aids, avoiding hot surfaces, and scheduling walks during cooler parts of the day. Check for ticks and fleas, and consult your vet about appropriate vaccinations and preventative medications.
  • Utilizing Gotta Go Grass® pads for dogs can help mitigate heat exposure and prevent parasites by offering a safe and convenient alternative for bathroom breaks during extreme heat. This can enhance your dog's comfort and health during the summer months.

How Summer Affects Your Dog Care Routine

Summer dog care varies significantly from other seasons due to the scorching heat. Whereas the primary concern in winter is keeping your dog warm and getting them enough exercise despite the cold, summer care focuses on protecting your dog from heat-related illnesses such as dehydration, sunburn, and heat stroke. In both extreme weather conditions, you can benefit from having a grass pad for dogs, which serves as an alternative bathroom when outdoor bathroom breaks are not ideal.

Additionally, summer also brings a higher prevalence of parasites like ticks and fleas, necessitating preventative measures such as avoiding contact with other dogs and places with higher infestation risks.

Heat Stroke and Other Heat-Related Issues Dogs Face in Summer

As pet parents, it's our responsibility to keep our dogs safe. However, it's not always easy, as while some dangers are obvious, others may be surprising. It's necessary to be aware of the many dangers they may face.


Heat stroke and heat stress occur when a dog's body temperature rises to dangerous levels, often due to exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity. Dogs are more prone to developing heat stroke due to their inability to sweat and regulate their body temperature as effectively as humans. Symptoms include excessive drooling, panting, drooling, collapsing, and, in severe cases, seizure or coma. Avoid strenuous exercise during the warmest parts of the day, and never leave dogs in a parked car. Additionally, provide cooling aids, such as wet towels, cooling mats, and fans, to keep them cool.


Dehydration happens when your dog loses more fluids than they intake, either through urination, defecation, reduced appetite, drinking, diarrhea, or vomiting. Hot weather increases the risk of dehydration, which can lead to life-threatening health issues if not addressed immediately. Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry gums, loss of appetite, panting, and lethargy. Keep fresh water and cool shade accessible at all times to keep your dog hydrated.


While water is essential, particularly on hot days, be mindful of their drinking water. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of infected wildlife and can contaminate water sources. It can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and serious issues like kidney and liver damage. Bacteria and algae grow faster in water as the temperature rises, putting your dog at risk of ingesting it.

It's essential to vaccinate your dog against leptospirosis. Avoid letting them drink from unknown water resources, like stagnant water, rivers, and ponds. Provide access to clean water at all times.


Like humans, dogs are at risk of sunburn. While their coat can provide some level of protection from UV rays, some areas can still get sunburned, including the nose, ears, belly, and any body parts with less or no fur. Dogs with short or light-colored coats are even at a higher risk of burns. Besides painful burns, exposing your dog too long to direct sunlight can put them at risk for skin cancer later in life. Apply pet-safe sunscreen on vulnerable areas like the nose, ears, and belly, and limit sun exposure, particularly on the hottest parts of the day.

Burned Paw Pads

Hot pavements, concrete, and sand can burn and cause blisters on your dog's sensitive paw pads, causing pain, blisters, and even reluctance to walk. A good rule of thumb is that if the pavement is too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws. Avoid walking your dog during the peak of the day. If you must, stick to shaded areas and grass lawns, and consider using booties or protective paw wax.


Common summer allergies like grass, pollen, and molds can trigger allergic reactions in dogs. Symptoms include scratching between their toes or around their ears, red eyes, and ear infections. The key to keeping your dog's allergies under control is to reduce their allergen exposure. After every walk, brush your dog's fur and wipe their muzzle and paws. Try walking them early in the morning or late in the afternoon when pollen levels are likely lower. You can also consult your vet for topical treatments and medications.


Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are at their most active in the summer, posing significant health risks to dogs. Lurking in tall grasses and wooded areas, ticks wait for an unsuspecting host, often your dog, to pass by. Once attached, they can transmit serious diseases, such as Lyme disease, causing long-term health issues if not immediately addressed. Check your dog for ticks after every outdoor trip and remove them immediately. You should also consult your vet about a comprehensive parasite prevention plan, which may include treatments with vet-approved medications like treats, tablets, topicals, or collars to prevent ticks and fleas from attaching to your dog in the first place.


How to Care for Your Dog in the Summer Months

Several key practices can keep your dog healthy during the summer. Adequate hydration is crucial—always provide fresh, cool water to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. Place water bowls in various locations around your home.

Provide shade to protect your dog from direct sun exposure. Place cooling mats, wet towels, or a fan where your dog usually retreats from the harmful sun rays to help keep them cool and comfortable. Additionally, schedule your walks and exercise during the early morning or late evening when it's cooler to prevent heat-related issues. When you do, make sure to avoid hot surfaces and stick to grassy areas.

Watch out for any signs of heat stress or stroke in dogs—excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, vomiting, or collapse. If you notice these symptoms, contact your vet immediately or take your dog to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Prompt action can make all the difference in ensuring your dog's safety and well-being during the summer months.

In these situations, Gotta Go Grass® pads for dogs can be a valuable addition to your summer dog care routine. These pads provide a convenient and safe alternative for bathroom breaks, especially during intensely hot weather when outdoor conditions may be unsafe. This can help prevent heat exposure and attracting parasites, ensuring your dog's comfort and health this season.

Read here for more tips on how to keep your dog cool in the summer. Do you have specific summer activities you enjoy with your dog that you'd like tips on making safer? Leave a comment below!

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