Summer’s almost here! Here are some tips to help your dog enjoy this beautiful weather too.
1. Paws Off The Hot Pavement: Do you remember as a barefoot kid, jumping to walk on the white lines since they were cooler than the pavement? Our dogs are not the fierce predators of old. The foot pads, especially on puppies and apartment dogs, are prone to very uncomfortable burns. Always reach down and keep your hand firmly pressed to the pavement for a while to be sure it’s not too hot. If you can’t comfortably keep your hand there, your dog may need to take a different path, or to wear protective boots.
2. Don't Leave Me In The Car: Speaking of hot places, please don’t ever leave your dog in the car alone in warm weather. Dogs can’t sweat like people do, and their fur coats don’t unzip. Even with windows cracked, the inside of a car can reach deadly temperatures in less than 15 minutes. While you could leave the air conditioning running, more than one family has returned to find an empty car with a window unwittingly rolled completely down by a paw.
3. Keep Me In The Shade: When you tie your best friend’s leash while you play some ball with the kids, be sure he can reach some shade and has plenty of water available. If he’s digging, chances are he’s removing the top warm layer of dirt to get to the cooler layer below. Pay attention to this plea that he needs some relief from the heat.
4. Water + Dog = Happy Cool Dog: Speaking of water, dogs LOVE to have their own kiddy pools to cool off in! When looking for a pool, consider how often you will want to be changing out the water. Dog’s tend to get the water muddy faster than kids, and some pools are too flimsy to easily dump. Your dog doesn’t need a huge pool. Better to get a smaller one that’s easy to dump. If you have a dog that absolutely loves to get into deeper water, consider a plastic stock tank, These tanks, usually used to water horses and other livestock, are easier to dump than kiddy pools and have the option to attach drainage hoses. When introducing your dog to the pool, never force entry. Instead, play around the pool and throw toys and floating treats into the water. Always use an appropriately safe water level for each dog
5. Cooling Treats: You can create amazing ice treats for your dogs! Choose some favorite treats: pieces of carrots, kibble, spoonfuls of peanut butter, etc. Fill a plastic container with water. (Depending on the types of treats and how large you make the ice, you may want to freeze in layers.) Add treats into the water, freeze solid, dip into warm water to release, let your dog enjoy the “pupsicle” outside!
And don’t forget to stay current on heartworm preventative. This preventable deadly disease is much cheaper to avoid by using pills than to treat an infection. The heart worm parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes. Warm weather brings mosquitoes, as well as forgotten pools of water breeding more of the bloodsucking bugs. Let your vet guide you in getting your dog started on the very easy, one pill a month, protective pills.
Be safe, have fun, and give your dog a scratch for me!
About The Author: Lesa Scheifele is a behavioral consultant who specializes in exotic animal training