The Dog Days of Summer.
July 15, 2010
It's hot out there, and while most people know how to keep yourself cool, you may not know how to keep your four legged best friend cool. I'm talking of your dog of course. The most important thing to remember during the summer is to make sure you're not over doing exercise. Dogs all need exercise everyday all year long, but during the summer especially, you really need to pay attention to make sure they're keeping cool as well. Breeds that are the most sensitive to heat related health issues are the breeds with the "squashed-up" faces, or brachycephalic faces. These breeds include Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzu, Yorkies, or any other breed with a "pushed in" face. These breeds are not very efficient panters and can overheat very quickly so keep an eye on them. Limit any exercise to early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are lower. It may also help to take several smaller walks rather than one large one.
Also, never keep your dog in the car during the summer. The heat inside can reach 120 degrees in a manner of minutes, even in cooler weather. This may sound strange, but some breeds of dog need sunscreen. Any breed that has hair rather than fur and especially those that are white, such as the Maltese, will need some sunscreen. The best way to apply sunscreen to a dog is by using the spray on kind, and remember to get the top of their noses and ears. Most sunscreens are non-toxic, so it's okay if they lick their nose. Just stay away from any with zinc or PABA. You can also put a light weight t-shirt on them to keep the rays away, one of the few times I’m okay with dogs wearing clothing. :) Here are a few ways to keep your doggies cool:
- Keep frozen bandanas in the freezer: Soak a bandana in water and then put it in the freezer. When you are going to be outside, wrap the bandana around the dogs’ neck so the largest part of the bandana hangs in front of their chest. This helps to keep the dog cool.
- Get a small pool: You can get a small baby pool at your local retailer during most of the summer months. Keep this pool filled with cool water and encourage your dog to get in. With some dogs this may take more encouragement than others. Treats are always a handy thing to have. If your dog, however, does not want to get into the pool and looks frightened or worried, don't force them. This will cause more problems than you want to deal with.
- Play with the hose or a sprinkler: Some dogs love to chase the water coming from a hose. This can be great exercise as well as keeping them cool. What a great combination. Again, if your dog looks the least bit stressed or frightened, this is not the game for him.
- Go to the lake: There are several areas around the city that have places for dogs to swim. Shawnee Mission Park has a great dog park that opens up to the lake at the end of the trail. The dogs run down there and play and splash in the water. This is a great place to take your dog on Saturday mornings.
- Make pupcicles: Take an ice tray and fill it with chicken or beef broth and freeze. You can then give these to your dogs to lick and scoot around outside.
- Wet Towel: Get a towel, or blanket for the big guys, and soak it with water. Then you can lie this down outside in the shade to keep them cooler.
Remember during the summer, a dog should never be left outside all day. Heat stroke can affect any dog and can happen very quickly when the temperatures rise. Always give your dog a chance to come inside and cool off. Keep fresh water and lots of it available at all times to keep your dogs hydrated. You can still have fun with your dog during the summer and stay safe! Visit the library for more information on the health and well being of your pet.Tags: dogs, summer, pets, animals