Beating The Heat When You Have Four Feet

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 Summertime Spencey

 

Summer is sneaking up! As we head out to the beer gardens, street fests, and drive into construction traffic, many of us will have our pups in tow. Here are a few of my favorite tips for keeping your dog safe in hot weather.

Hot Dogs

Heat exhaustion is no joke. Just as with humans, it can range from mild to serious. The trick is to avoid it and, if you notice the symptoms already present, stop its progression immediately. Dogs have Summertime Gingermuch higher body temperatures, so remember that the change from “I’m hot” to “danger” can happen quickly.

What to Watch For
When a dog is struggling with heat you’ll notice restlessness, panting, and an increase in respiration, heart rate, and salivation. As the situation worsens you may see vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, staggering, gasping, gum color change to bright red or purple or blue, and disorientation.

If you catch any early symptoms, just give ‘em a break, some shade, water, and some cool wet towels. If you notice any of the latter symptoms, give the vet a ring. Keep in mind that puppies, older dogs, and brachycephalic dogs (or as I like to call them “smush faces”) are at a higher risk.

Drink Up, Pup

Keeping your dog hydrated is uber important in the summer. No portable dog dish handy? An unused poop baggie works! For slow strolls, doing this once or twice will be enough. If you’re out for a longer play session, repeat often. Heading out where fountains are scarce, think ahead and make plans to bring water. I keep an old gallon milk container in the car and refill it on the go.

Sun Gods

Lots of dogs LOVE lying in the sun and there’s nothing wrong with that. But a dog can’t tell us when he’s had enough, so make sure you provide the option of shade. I’ve used umbrellas for smaller dogs, and sheets and clotheslines for larger dogs when there wasn’t a natural option.

Summer ‘Do

Summertime Otis, wetTo cut the coat or not, that is the question? Many people opt for a shave down in the summer to help keep dogs cool. There is nothing wrong with that, and I’m sure our husky, shepherd, shaggy pups are appreciative. Soaking your dog’s coat with cool water, prior to a walk or exercise, can be a fun alternative. I can’t tell you how many of my dogs go gaga at the sight of the hose. In this heat, they usually dry by the time we get home! For the thinner or shorter haired pups use sunscreen, their skin can be sensitive and burn just as ours.

 

Quick Wrap Up: Rachel’s Rules

No leaving dogs in the car
Always have water available
Find shade
Exercise your dog in the morning and night
Take care of that coat

 

Well, that’s all on the summer safety front. Now that a Rover-Timer armed you with the know-how, get out and enjoy yourselves!

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Comments (4)

Kathleen Bloom

Love this important post by Rachel! Loving our pets is taking good care and being aware of their needs. thnx for the reminder of what they need in the heat.

Michelle Sears

I love the quick wrap up advice at the end of this post, they're easy to do steps for our loved ones. Thanks for this blog it really makes me conscious of how I care for my pets.

Clare J Fitzgerald

Hey Julia, great tips here. I also use the doggy poop bags when I'm out with my boy Charlie if I can't carry the portable doggie bowl. We also have a little doggie door at home so he can come in when he needs too plus we keep water bowls inside and out. Like the idea of having a big container in the car that you can refill, thanks for that tip

Lynda

Just another tip: Jameson Loves Danger sells shirts and "collars" that stay cool when they're damp. They're awesome and they work! Also, check with a groomer before shaving a dog with a double coat (shepherds, huskies, poms, etc.) because their hair may grow back patchy, more coarse, and sometimes not at all! Keeping those dogs brushed out can improve air flow to the skin and help immensely with the heat.

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