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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Keeping cool during the Sweet Dog days of summer

[Photo: Daily Mail]

Being a mother is a complicated job.  When my son was born, I felt compelled by some deep genetic drive to put a sweatshirt on him when I felt cold.

Now that summer is officially here and the temperature is beginning to rise, maternal instincts have turned towards my dogs. After a little research, I found that dogs do not cool their bodies with the same efficiency as their owners.  When I feel warm, my three labs are hot.

Here are a few tips I follow during dog days of summer to keep everyone cooler, healthy and happy.  If you have other ideas, please feel free to share them in the comment section.


Please keep your dog's water bowl full and in the shade.
Pups rely on drinking water to cool down in hot weather. Keep fresh water available for your dog on a walk, in the car, at the beach or in the backyard. There are many types of water bottle on the market. I use the Guardian Gear Handi-Drink.  It is easy to pour water from my water bottle in this mini water bowl. My dogs have mangled the plastic bowl by chewing on it and it still works.

Remember to set up a shady area for your dog.
During the hottest hours of the day, bring your dog inside or provide a shady area.  Blogger Dog Jaunt used a baby sun shade for their dog during a long car trip.  Great idea!

Do not overexercise your pup.
Runners and triathletes, just a reminder dehydration and overheating in your dogs, is caused by over-exercise. Short-nosed pups and dogs with thick coats are particularly susceptible.  Signs of heatstroke include:
  • Heaving panting
  • Increased temperature
  • Red or purple gums
  • Lying down or unwilling to get up
  • Dizziness or disorientation.





If you suspect that your dog has overheated, reduce his body temperature by moving him into the shade or air-conditioning and apply cool (not cold) cloths to his head, neck and belly.Try giving the dog small amount of water or ice chips. Call your vet immediately.

Do not leave your dog in the car.
This is an obvious point.  It is important to note that a car with the windows rolled down is still too hot for the dog.  Stay strong against their sad eyes when you walk out the door, even short trips can be dangerous.
Update:  The day after I posted this article, I saw a woman lock her little dog in her car with all the windows shut.  I saw the pink bows in the dog's fur as it looked at me panting like crazy.   Although I wanted to, I did not say anything to the woman. I found the shopping center's security guard and let him know about the dog.  He was very nice and discreetly found the woman and she took the dog out of the car.

Sunburn and sunscreen
Pet sunscreens are growing in popularity. I remain conflicted about using them because the dogs ofter lick the sunscreen off themselves and the other dogs.  It is true that pale colored dog and cats do get sunburned and some vets suggest the use of pet friendly sunscreens.  If you plan to use sunscreen on your dog, call your vet for their recommendation.


Thanks for reading,
Debbie Follow Me on Pinterest

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