Monday, August 8

Best Of: How To Help Your Dog Beat The Heat

The temperature continues to rise, so I had to include cool solutions in the Best Of week.  This was another blog that got a lot of hits and great feedback.  I hope that it can once again get important information to you and provide your pet some relief from the heat.
Summer is here and that means so is the heat.  I promised a few months ago in a blog titled It's Warming Up Outside, to give additional helpful hints on how to help your dog beat the heat.  There were several things mentioned in this original blog, but there is a lot more you can do, especially if you are going to be out on long walks or hikes.

1.  Water!  Water is absolutely key.  Make sure if you are going for a long walk (greater than 30 minutes), especially if it is in the heat of the day, you are stopping every 10 - 15 minutes to give your dog water.  If you are out on a hike, you should be stopping in shade to water your dog and check that they are not overheating.  If your dog has diarrhea or keeps wanting to stop and lie down, turn around and go home or back to the car, the hike is over and your dog is already dehydrated.  There are a few different types of portable and collapsible water bowls, it is really up to you which one you use.  They are very handy to keep in your car, backpack or even in your back pocket.

2.  Protect the paws!  The pads on your dogs paws are very sensitive, though some dogs will develop a natural resistance to hot pavement, gravel or grass, most will have a hard time walking on hot surfaces, especially hot pavement.  You can get dog boots or dog paw protectors to put on your dog and they work well.  However, if you have a dog that doesn't like things going over their feet, you can slather on paw wax before your walk or hike.  If you opt for the wax, beware that you will need to wipe your dogs feet before coming back into the house as it makes a bit of a mess.

3.  Cool your dog's core heat!  I can't stress the importance of cooling your dog after a walk or hike.  Dogs with a heavy coat are going to need a little extra help cooling their core so they don't over heat, the same goes for dogs with a high drive and dogs that are just heat sensitive.  The best way to cool their core is to put on a cooling vest or have your dog lie on a cooling bed.  This will cool them slowly rather than rapidly and run the risk of cooling them down too fast.
4.  Cool, fun and sweet treat!  Give your dog some doggy ice cream, they will love it (and you).  If your dog doesn't take to the ice cream, you can just give them ice, most dogs find it fun to crunch on the ice and it will help with the cooling.

5.  Pace yourself!  It is really important to set a pace that is appropriate for your dog.  In cooler weather your dog may have a fast pace, in the heat you should slow down a little so they don't tire so quickly or overheat.

I hope these tips will make your summer a little better.  Just remember to think about your dog before you decide to take them with you on your day out.  It is always nice to have them with you during hikes or beach days, but the weather may not make it so nice for them.

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