Staying Cool and Safe

Summer is a great time to have a dog – you can take them swimming, you can go hiking, have picnics. The kids are home, so they can help play with and walk the dog. It stays light out much later, so there’s more time in the day.

But summer is not always fun for you or your dog – it is HOT! Here are some tips to keep your dog safe and cool during the summer heat waves.

Exercise early or late – Even when it’s sizzling outside midday, it’s cooler in the early morning or evening. A few days ago, I saw it was going to reach 100 degrees that afternoon. So instead of exercising my dogs in the late morning like I usually do, I took them out as soon as I got up. It’s usually still pleasant at 6, 7, even 8am. Then as the sun starts to go down, it cools off again. Plan on doing your major outside exercising during the cooler parts of the day.

Baby pools – If your dog likes the water, you can buy a cheap plastic baby pool at Walmart for around $10. Fill it up with the hose and let the dog splash around in it.

The ice game – Here’s a fun way to entertain your dog and keep them cool. Fill a big plastic bowl with water and a little beef or chicken broth. Put some treats and water-safe toys and bones in the bowl, and put the bowl in the freezer. A few hours later, you’ll have a giant ice cube you can dump outside and let the dog chew on!

Find a wooded area to walk in – The more trees there are, the cooler it is. If you have a park with hiking paths near you, this is a great way to walk and still keep relatively cool. Especially if there’s a creek where they can get their paws wet!

Frozen Kongs – Fill your dog’s Kong toy with canned food or moistened kibble and freeze it. Not only is it a nice cool treat, it will keep your dog occupied for a while!

Always carry water – If you’re going to be outside with your dog for more than a potty break, make sure you bring plenty of water for your dog (and yourself!). You can find some nice portable water bowls at any pet supply store. Keeping your dog hydrated is an absolute must.

Watch for signs of heatstroke – Excessive panting, thick drooling, lethargy, bright red tongue, or pale gums are signs of dehydration and heatstroke. Make sure to pay attention to your dog and at any sign of discomfort provide them with water and take them inside. Be especially careful with puppies, old dogs, dogs with health problems, and overweight dogs. Heatstroke can be deadly, so talk to your vet about what to do in an emergency.

Have fun with your dogs this summer – and stay safe!  Do you have some good tips for staying cool?  Leave a comment.  It’s going to be a hot one this weekend!

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