Dog Days of Summer
By: Cathleen K. Bode
Credits: Alyssa Thomann
> As Spring rolls on over into summer, we look forward to spending the hot summer days poolside with our trusty canine companion. The hot, sunny weather is pleasant for pool or beach days, however dogs do not handle the scorching summer temperatures as well as people do. There are numerous helpful tips to help keep your four-legged friend healthy and happy as you enjoy the summer season together.
1. Watch out for UV Rays. Like humans, dogs can suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion. It is important to provide plenty of shade and water for your pooch while he is out playing under the sun. If he sports a long coat, it is unnecessary to shave it off. Shaving a longhaired dog’s coat too short can lead to sunburn. His hair actually acts as a natural sun protector, so if you want to cut his hair please be careful not to cut it too short. If unsure on how much to cut please ask your vet. If your dog likes to lie belly-up on that pool deck of yours, be sure to rub a light coat of sunblock on his belly, nose, and ears, these are places most prone to sunburn.
2. Be aware of when and where you exercise with your pup. All dogs love a good walk or run around the neighborhood, however during the sizzling summer months it is crucial to be wary about the times of day you take your dog for his daily walk. Take him when temperatures are cooler (e.g., early morning or late at night). Also, make sure his paws don’t sizzle on the asphalt; be wary of the temperatures those puppy paws are walking or running across. Dogs overheat before people do, so even though you may be only a little warm, he could be lethally overheated. So be sure to pay close attention to his behavior during your workout.
3. Do not leave your dog in a parked car. You may just be running into the store for a quick second, but who knows if you will become distracted and leave your precious pup a couple minutes too long in an overheated car. Cars rapidly heat up after just a little while even when the weather is relatively cool. The inside of a car may reach lethal temperatures within minutes. This means that with the critically high temperatures during the summer months, temperatures inside the car rise even more rapidly. Cracking the windows is hardly effective so be sure to avoid any situation where you may have to leave your dog in a parked car even if only for a few minutes. And remember, their bodies heat up much quicker than ours.
4. Be prepared at all times. Imagine you are driving around with your loyal companion riding shotgun. Out of nowhere you car dies and you have to wait around for a tow truck to come to your rescue. You can stand the heat for a while but your pooch won’t last as long as you can. It’s a very good idea to always bring a cooler packed with ice, a few bottles of water, a couple of towels and a battery powered fan around on your travels, especially with your dog. Soak the towel in the ice water and have your dog sit on it while aiming the fan at him. The fan will cool his wet skin just as the breeze cools you down when you are sweating.
Summertime may be the time for you and your pooch to have some fun in/or around the pool or perhaps a trip to the beach. However, the scorching rays of the summer sun can cause quite a problem for your pal if you don’t properly prepare for the heat by following the tips offered above. Just as you need to take special precautions when spending the day out in the sun, you must also do the same for your dog. By doing so you two can enjoy a summer you will never want to forget. <