Welcome guest blogger Matt Beswick all the way from the UK…
As we are approaching the dog days of summer, a reminder about keeping pets cool is fan-tastic… pun intended.
Summer (hopefully) means blue skies, sand and surf, and time spent enjoying an outdoor lifestyle. Our dogs love to share in our warm weather activities, but it’s important that we keep them safe as the temperature rises.
Dogs can’t keep themselves cool as effectively as we can. We produce sweat which evaporates, and this cools our body while dogs cool themselves by the evaporation of water from their mouth and tongue as they pant. Their tongue is a whole lot smaller than our body, so they are at greater risk of overheating.
Heat stroke can kill, so it’s important that we know how to prevent it. Don’t take your dog for a walk or a run in the warmest part of the day – do it early in the morning, or in the evening. Also, it goes without saying that you should never leave her in the car, even with the windows rolled down. The temperature inside the car rises rapidly, and she could die within minutes. Make sure she can get out of the sun, whether that be a shady tree, a cool kennel or easy access to the inside of your house.
There are things you can do to make the summer months more pleasant for your canine companion. She should be given fresh cool water to drink regularly. If she is a water lover, she will enjoy splashing in a toddler wading pool; just make sure you use a hard plastic one because her toenails may puncture an inflatable one. (Note: Hose your dog down in the back yard, or take your dog to the beach, lake, or river).
Cooling dog beds are available to lie on, and you can also purchase a cooling jacket or neck bandana. All these products contain a special gel material which expands when it is wet, and cools your dog down as the water evaporates.
When you are out walking, avoid hot surfaces like asphalt and sand because they may burn your dog’s paws. Touch the ground and if it’s too hot for your hand, it will be too hot for your dog. Either walk on the grass, or consider buying some protective booties for her to wear.
If your dog has a lot of white skin, she is at risk of sunburn and skin cancer. There are sunscreens available for dogs, but you mustn’t rely on them – it is far better to keep your dog in the shade while the sun is strongest. If you do want to use a sunscreen, only use a product that is registered for dogs. Dogs tend to lick at anything that is applied to their skin, and a sunscreen specifically made for dogs will take this into account and it will be safe if a little is swallowed. (Note: Cici has white fur/pink skin and I do not use sunscreen but keep her out of the sun for too long… I think sun is good for us, people and pets, and a certain amount of sunshine is good. But when Cici starts getting too pink, I will make her get into the shade. She LOVES to sunbathe).
Note: Once in a blue moon, feed your dog pupsicles or vanilla ice cream, for a tasty snack. I also freeze Cici’s bones so she can chomp on them without splinter worries and because they are frozen, they also cool her off.
If you follow these guidelines, your dog will stay safe and comfortable during the hottest months of the year.
And if you see a dog in a hot car, call the police.
About the Author: Matt Beswick is a dog lover and self confessed internet addict. He runs Pet365, http://www.pet365.co.uk/”UK a Pet Supplies website and also blogs on his personal website http://www.mattbeswick.com.