Now that the thermometer is regularly touching triple digits, it’s time to keep a close eye on our furry friends and add a few precautions to keep them from getting dehydrated. They don’t check the weather channel to be able to prepare for heat waves and get tips on hydrating up and chilling out, so it’s up to us to make sure we help them stay cool during hot spells.
1. Keep your dog in the coolest possible place.
For many people, this means inside the house with the air conditioning going. If you don’t have AC, keep all the shades drawn and fans blowing. Hardwood floors and tile floors are often much cooler than carpet for your dog to lay on.
2. Keep plenty of fresh, filtered drinking water available.
Make sure that your dog has access to water both inside and outside at all times. Keep the outdoor bowl fresh and clean by regularly washing it and adding fresh water. You can add ice cubes to the bowl, to keep it from heating up in temperature.
3. Don’t exercise during the daytime.
Walk during early morning hours or after dusk. The pavement on a hot day can burn the pads on your dog’s feet and cause them to overheat. You can verify this by taking your shoes off and walking barefoot on concrete for a few minutes midday. Ouch! Forget about frying an egg!
4. Look for signs of overheating.
Dogs don’t sweat, they pant. The only way for a dog to release heat is through panting, so watch for excessive panting, drooling, and lethargy. Lots of water, and even a cold bath, can help cool a hot dog down quickly.
5. Do more than just drink the water!
It’s a great time to use swimming as an alternative form of exercise, if your dog enjoys it. Or how about filling a wading pool with cold water and letting your dog soak it up? Keep the pool in the shade and freshen the water regularly. If your dog loves to play with the hose water, make a fun game out of it. If gently spraying your dog to cool him off, try using a squirt bottle with ice water or a wet washcloth applied to their belly.
Remember, they can’t pour themselves a nice cold glass of water, or take a cold shower on their own, so be sure to look for signs your dog is telling you he’s hot, and help your fur coat-wearing loved one stay cool during these dog days of summer!