For humans, it’s fairly easy to escape the heat; we go from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned store or restaurant. We can help ourselves to water, or ice cream, or open the freezer door and stick our head inside.
But what about Fido?
Dogs are just as susceptible to dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunburn as people, and sometimes even more so. Don’t take any chances; follow these simple guidelines so that your dog(s) can enjoy their summer just as much as you are.
1. Have lots of fresh water handy. This doesn’t just mean indoors, but outside as well. Keep a bowl in a shaded area, like a porch or awning. Remember, water will evaporate quickly in the heat, so check it frequently.
Humidity is also just as dangerous to dogs as the heat; even on humid days, make sure your dog has plenty of water. If you see your pet panting, chances are they could use a refill. Drop some ice cubes in the bowl, or feed them directly to your dog as a cold treat.
2. Make sure there’s a shaded area outside. Dogs with short fur or with sensitive skin can get sunburned, just like us. In fact, any dog’s exposed nose can get burned by harsh sunlight. And without shade, dogs can hurt the pads on the bottoms of their paws by walking on concrete or asphalt.
If you don’t have a porch or shaded area, consider putting a sun umbrella out that your dog can lay underneath. Pet owners can also get animal-safe sunscreen for sensitive pooches. Consult your vet before using any sunscreen on a dog.
3. Don’t leave them outside too long. Dogs know when it’s too hot out. If they have to go outside to do their business, chances are they’re going to do it quick and come right back into the air conditioning. Keep a mindful eye on the door so you can let them back in fast.
If your dog is an outdoor dog, consider letting them hang out in the basement, where it will be cooler. They’ll particularly enjoy unfinished basements with concrete floors -- they can sprawl out on their bellies on the cool ground.
4. Take walks at appropriate times. If your dog is used to a daily walk, do it earlier in the morning before it gets too hot, or later in the evening when things cool off.
If you do walk in the heat, bring a bottle of water and a small bowl with you so your dog can have a drink and take a short break. You wouldn’t go without some water for yourself, would you?
You can also soak a bandana or hand towel in cold water and tie it loosely around their neck to help keep them cool while they walk.
5. Take them to a lake or beach that allows dogs. Of course, before you take a dog anywhere, you should always be sure they allow pets. But if they do, feel free to let them splash around in the water.
If you have a pool, let your dog take a dip, so long as they know how to swim. Or, keep a shallow kiddy pool outside in a shaded region of the yard, filled with cool water.
Author’s Note: Information provided by www.thedailypuppy.com and the American Kennel Club.