4 Cool Tips On How To Avoid Hot Dogs This Summer
With summer so tantalizingly close, warmer weather upon us and our gardens coming into full bloom, who can blame us for wanting to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors. The same goes for our pets and my slider door is sure getting a work-out as my gang want in, then out, then maybe in… and I stand waiting at the door while they think about it. Yes, I am a slave to my pets and think there should be a 12-step program for it. But I digress.
Not all pets have a door-person standing at the ready and for dogs in particular, outdoor living can be heaven or hell depending on the temperature.
While we all know that we keep our bodies cool by sweating and that dogs don’t sweat, they pant, did you realize that when the heat is extreme, panting just isn’t enough. That’s where you as a responsible pet parent must step in to make sure Rover is not only comfortable, but safe.
Keep it Cool
For dogs that spend a great deal of time outdoors, lots of fresh, cool water is the #1 priority. Whether tethered in one area or roaming the yard, dehydration can be a killer on a hot day regardless of how active your pooch is or isn’t. While there are a number of products on the market that range from dog “fountains” to self-watering devices that attach to your outdoor faucet, the key is that you provide a continual source of fresh, cool water. If you’re old-school, make sure the bowl is large, can’t be tipped and emptied (opt for a bowl with a wide-base) is located in a shady area, and is replenished frequently.
Related: Hot Tips on Sun Protection For Dogs
Equally important to helping your pet beat the heat is adequate shade. We’ve all watched our pets follow a sun spot in the house and flop down to enjoy its warmth. Your backyard is an entirely different story and your boy needs someplace cool and shady where he can chill out. Too much sun leads to not only heat exhaustion but sun burn (yes!) and if he free-ranges periodically throughout the day, a shade tree or access to under a deck can be just the ticket. But if he’s outdoors for longer periods or tethered, he needs some serious solutions. Consider an insulated dog house that is well ventilated, a canopy set up in the shade or even a doggie door into your house so he can access the A/C too!
Everyone in the Pool!
Once you’ve met the first two basics, you can look for some fun and creative ways to help your little guy stay cool. Think swimming pool! No, not the pricey in-ground version but a molded plastic kiddie pool – it’s the perfect size (and price) for dogs. Keep it filled with cool water in a shady part of the yard (remember, you want a swimming pool, not a hot tub) and change the water regularly to avoid mosquitos. Most dogs love to splash or lounge in the water to cool off but if your pooch is a really little guy (or a Bulldog), make sure you supervise him or keep the water level to just a couple of inches. Sprinklers can also provide some relief on a hot day, but on those lazy, hazy days of summer a plastic pool full of cool water is probably more enticing.
You will also probably notice Rover is also foregoing his cozy dog bed to flop down on a patch of grass, dirt or sometimes a freshly dug hole… in the perennials. Truth is, his bed is probably too warm in the heat and he’s looking for a spot that can keep him cool. While there are some options out there that include cooling dog beds made of gel-like materials, a simpler option he may enjoy just as much is a sandbox filled with wet sand where he can indulge his natural instinct to dig and burrow.
Whether you opt for the elaborate safeguards or choose the basic necessities to keep your best friend comfortable this summer the only guarantee of his safety is for you to keep a close eye on him. And remember that heat stroke doesn’t correct itself with a little extra water and shade. Get him to a vet if he begins to show any signs of distress from the rising temperatures.
What do you do to keep your dog cool in the summer? Share your tips with our pet parent community in the comment section below.
Mary Simpson is a writer and communications professional from Port Credit, Ontario. A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen. She enjoys running, politics, exploring the wine regions of Niagara and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.
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