Keep Pets Cool This Summer
JASON KELTON, Guest Columnist
Sunday, June 10, 2012 5:51 am
Summer is upon us and it’s a great time for dogs, and humans, to play outside. Beautiful weather, along with unusually warm local temperatures, has lead many people to bask in the heat with their pets.
Humans sweat to keep cool, but what about your pooch? Dogs do not sweat like we do. The main way they keep cool is panting. Unfortunately, this is not enough when it is extremely hot and humid outside.
Keeping your dog safe from extreme heat is no joke and it’s up to you to make sure you keep them cool on these hot summer days.
First and foremost is to keep plenty of fresh water available to them at all times.
This sounds simple, but sometimes can be difficult if you are away from home. Remember to keep water just for them if you are traveling or going to a park. Having a empty water bottle or gallon jug, along with a small travel water bowl, will allow you to provide them with the necessary water to keep them cool and hydrated.
Never leave your dog in the car in the heat.
Just a few short minutes in the car can lead to irreversible organ damage or death.
Provide shelter from the sun, especially to white, or light-colored pets. Certain areas are prone to sunburn, such as tops of ears and nose.
Let your pets play in the water.
A great way for many pets to stay cool around the house is to provide a small pool area, such as a kiddie pool (molded plastic, not inflatable!).
Many dogs love to play or lounge in a shallow body of water. Just make sure that you do change it out often – you do not want to attract mosquitoes.
If this is not a feasible option, you might try running a sprinkler every now and then to see if they like that.
If you spray your dog down, remember that they cool from the bottom up. Spray down their paws and stomach first – this will cool them down the best.
Another great idea is to have a cooling bed.
A cooling bed works by providing a means to make them feel cooler by pulling the heat away from them, similar to lying on tile or concrete floors.
Often, these beds utilize a gel-like material or simply water to keep them feeling cool. These beds are especially good for senior dogs as an alternative to hard floors. Laying out a wet towel for them to lie on will also help.
If you exercise with your dog, do it early in the morning or late at night on days that there will be excessive heat. Not only is this better for your dog, it’s better for you.
Probably the most effective way to keep them cool on excessively hot days is to keep them inside.
If you are worried about what you will come home to, set up an area specifically for them. It may be a risk, but it is better than having them suffer through the heat.
Remember that dogs primarily cool themselves by panting, so cooler air is the best way to prevent and relieve overheating.
Always keep an eye on them during these times of extreme weather.
Now go have some fun out there with them!