The Best Pet Tips to beat the Heat
Well folks, summer is reached most of us, and if you are anything like me, and my family, we are feeling the heat. I live in the Midwest, where we get a lot of humidity pretty much all summer long, but we do have a lot of just flat dry HEAT in the late summer months as well.
With my fur babies, they like their time outside, but there is a reason they call the hottest time o the year “Dog days of summer” the bottom line is it just plain HOT and can be pretty miserable.
With that in mind, I wanted to do something for my fellow puppy parents and put together a few tips for you to take extra time and attention for your pets and their needs in the summer months.
I put together this list of pet care tips for summer, all things that I do for my dogs, all of which have different needs, and I am hoping that everyone can take away something from these tips and suggestions to staying cool and safe this summer.
1. Fear and Respect
This is something that may sound like something a little out of hand, or scary but the fact of the matter is I just want to get your attention when it comes to the temperatures. There are several causalities and close calls each summer due to animals being left out in the heat.
Stop and think about how you feel when you get in your car when its 90 degrees out and the windows are rolled up… pretty hot and hard to breathe right? Well when you leave the dog in your car, EVEN with the window cracked, it is HOT and deathly.
Now when you take the sun beating down on you, no wind or breeze, the humidity levels, and the overall “summer months” and all that comes with it, now add about 2-3 coats of fur on top. Now consider your unable to pant properly, or create sweat.
If you own a pug or Persian cat, and a few other breeds of dogs, they cannot deal with the heat properly because they don’t pant; there are 100s of heat strokes each summer due to animals NOT knowing their pets and their needs.
What can you do to keep your four-legged friend safe? Make sure if they are going to be outside for ANY length of time that they have access to a cool shady area, cold dog house, or some kind of safe haven from the sun and heat.
Next, they need to have an adequate supply of water. If you have a large tub or basin that you can leave outside with water in it, your dogs will get in and cool off when they want. This is great if you have a kid’s plastic pool or something they can use at their luxury.
2. Bugged out
With the warm weather, you want to be sure that you have the adequate defense system for your pet. Regardless if you have a cat or dog, you want to make sure that you are on the defense, and plan ahead.
You want to be proactive with this. If you have a pet outside, which is what this article is about really, you want to try and spray (with pet safe products ONLY, of course) around your house, and yard in any area in which your pet may play or reside.
Next, you want to use the proper proactive shampoos and conditioners for your dog as well. There are flea and tick products all over the market these days for pets with short or long hair. Keep your grass mowed, and brush away from where your pets play.
Be sure that you take your pet to the vet, and be sure that they have the proper flea and tick ointments oils and flea and tick collars. When you are sitting around the house playing, go through with your hands, or a comb and feel for bumps, ticks that may have attached themselves, or other bugs like fleas and ticks.
If you find ticks or fleas, bomb your house, use the power in your bedding and carpet. I cannot emphasize it enough you HAVE TO be proactive you are the only defense your pet has to these vermin!
3. Know your Poisons
If you’re a parent, and not just to your fur babies you know how important it is to keep chemicals and poisons out of reach for your children, obviously this applies to pets as well.
What you may not realize is that they are more susceptible to this poisons because they are outside, can get outside, and if “free” or run, they could get into someone’s trash garden or another area, and believe it or not there are people out there that put poisons on their trash to keep dogs and raccoons or cats out of their trash.
Sad thing is, it will kill them. Now I am not trying to scare you away from your neighbors, I doubt they are out there to “kill your dogs” but there are other ways they can get into antifreeze or oil or other car fluids.
If you have a car that leaks, we all know pets have NO standards as to what not to eat or drink, if it’s hot and it looks like water they are going to try and lap it up or drink it. See how this could be deadly?
4. Skin Cancer
We hear about skin cancer and other forms of cancer for us humans all the time, but what we don’t hear about are all of the ways our pets can get cancer as well, the fact of the matter is this is a real issue.
Find out if your pet meets the requirements for needing sunscreen. Not only can you use some brands of sunscreen but there are bug sprays and repellents that are made for dogs as well. Again, this is just another tip for staying on the defensive.
5. Workout times
Props to you and your four-legged workout buddy for staying healthy and being proactive. You can continue to do this but it is important that you change your workout time to adjust to the weather and environment.
If it’s going to be 90 degrees when you would usually go out to run or walk, you may want to try early in the morning or after the sun has start to set in the evening.
6. Shoes Fit for your Pup
This is something that, if you can, you should consider doing year round. Whether it’s HOT or COLD outside, these little doggie boots help protect their feet.
Have you ever walked across your patio, or driveway when its 90 degrees outside? Not too pleasant is it? Or when there are 6 inches of snow…. just something to think about.
I know I talked about the importance of keeping water outside for your dog all summer long or whoever they are outside, but can still give them water, but you want to be sure that you watch for signs of overheating.
Dogs have one natural way of cooling themselves off, and that is panting, and drooling. There are not too many dogs who can’t pant, but there are a few breeds, and you need to know if you are the proud owner of one of these breeds.
So how do you know if your dog is dehydrated? Close to the same technique as you would check if a human is dehydrated. Lift their skin lightly, you don’t have to pinch hard, and if it falls into place right away, they are healthy and hydrated, if it stays wrinkled or slowly goes back, then you want to make sure your dog is getting more water.
8. Spray their Feet
Now I know your probably already pamper your dog as well as you can, but there is no shame in picking up a few new techniques. If they are outside dogs full time set up a sprinkler or something where they can get their bellies, and feet wet with.
Dogs also cool from the bottom up, so if their bottoms, feet, and bellies have a cool touch such as mud, or spraying their feet, or you have a fan (in case you don’t have a/c inside your home) these are all great ways to help keep them cool and comfortable.
9. Dig it
I know this is a real pain in the butt and can be an eye sore, but dogs will dig trenches in the dirt or grass where they can set deep in the ground (I say deep but a few inches down).
If they have a kennel that is on the dirt, they will dig a hole, and generally lay down in it the ground is often times cooler a few feet or an inch or so down. Let them have their one small space to dig, and sit in will show them you care.
10. Common Sense
Ok, this is the only time I will get on my soap box and preach about this, but it is the number one killer for pets (and SADLY CHILDREN) in the summertime.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES leave your dog in a PARKED CAR! I know you just want to run in really quick and pick up a few things, but you are going to hurt your pets this way! It is NOT ok.
If you have a fur baby that loves to go on car rides, you are going to have to plan and prioritize.Take them along on the short excursions. Take them to the bank drive-thru or to pick up the kids from school, anything you’re doing where YOU aren’t getting out of the car.
The bottom line is you are your pets an only form of safety and security. They can’t talk to us, they can’t tell us what they need, they can’t say “hey I’m hot and need to cool off” at least not in those words, they can’t say hey I need more water.
Just pamper them the best you can; add ice to their water, make sure they have fans, cool air, and a nice place to enjoy their summer outside, not just suffer through it.