June is the beginning of summer when we and our pets start dealing with the summer heat
Follow these tips and tricks to keep your pet safe during the dog days of summer
It is important to keep up with proper grooming of your pet during the summer months. Depending on your dog’s breed, grooming needs and maintenance are required weekly if not daily. Double coated dogs are designed to keep them both warm and cool. In the summer months, regular de-shedding of the undercoat keeps the dead hair from clogging the natural cooling system of the coat. Often times shaving is NOT the best option for these dogs. Removal of all the hair eliminates the natural insulation ability of the top and undercoats so dogs become hotter faster.
Training is still essential during the summer months, but be aware of the heat and weather conditions. Limit training to mornings and evenings, the best times outside of the midday heat. Watch out for hot asphalt when walking as dogs can burn their sensitive pads.
The key to our pet’s handling the heat is staying hydrated! Dogs should drink on average, 1 ounce of water for every pound they weigh. Therefore, a 30 lb. dog should drink a ½-gallon of water daily. Our pets, like us and the planet earth, are about 70% water, and every system of their body requires a continuous supply to function properly. A well-hydrated pet’s skin springs back when gently grasped and his gums will be sloppy wet to the touch.
As far as keeping the body temperature regulated, our four-legged friends try to cool themselves through a less-than efficient evaporative cooling system (panting), conductive system (laying on cool floors or pavement) and by releasing heat through the glands in the pads of their feet. Dogs that are TOO hot can actually sweat out their paws leaving paw prints behind.
By the time the air temperature reaches 80°F, it is hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk! This can cause severe burns to your pet’s paws, so…if you can’t hold the top of your hand against the ground for 7 seconds or stand barefoot on a surface, it is too hot for your pet to walk on it! Even grass and beach sand are unbearable at times. Provide shade and good ventilation at all times.
Older pets, overweight pets and ones with flat faces (brachycephalic) have more difficulty breathing when the temperatures warm up. Take this day to remind yourself to always keep your furry best pal safe. Heat waves are already on the rise in various parts of the country, and can result in gastro intestinal illness as well as brain death.
Toys and Treats
There’s many fun toys and treats available to help your dog beat the heat. Kiddie pools are inexpensive and a great place for your dog to cool off. Never force your dog into the pool if they do not take to it right away. Encourage them to explore and get in at their own pace. Throwing a favorite toy in often is enough encouragement for them begin to explore on their own. Make it fun and be sure to give lots of praise when they start to check things out! One of the best tasty treats for a hot summer day is to fill a Kong with peanut butter and freeze ahead of time. The frozen peanut butter lasts longer and creates a puzzling enrichment toy they can enjoy for hours.