Seven and half ways to keep your dog cool
August. Thirty-one days of the end of summer. Alden’s Kennels knows that, here in the Midwest, the greatest number of heat advisory days fall in the month of August. Large or small, your dog has to rely on your good judgment to keep him or her from overheating. And they overheat just as easily as we do. Here are tried and true hot-weather tips for the furriest family member.
1) Don’t turn down the air when you leave home, at least not all the way. We use the A/C for our comfort during the hot days… so does your pet. Make sure shades or blinds are closed to help keep the house cool when you’re out and about if you’re being energy conscious. A sealed-up home gets hot fast during the long hours of sunlight.
2) Water is critical. Dogs may not sweat, but they pant. You don’t want a panting dog. A good tip is to double up on the water dishes.
2.5) Water is even more critical outdoors. If you’re outside with your pet, or the dog is in the yard alone, bring a water dish for fresh water. A splash pool might be fun as well as a cool respite for an outdoor pet. Keep that water fresh, too. If you’re walking, bring enough water for both of you.
3) Exercise in the cooler parts of the day. Older dogs, overweight dogs, and dogs with snub noses are the most susceptible to heatstroke. Early morning or late evening walks are going to be more comfortable for you and the dog. An added bonus to morning walks is that the pavement is cooler. Speaking of pavement…
4) Sidewalks and streets can be as much as 30 degrees hotter than the air and they hold the heat for a long time. This is especially true of blacktop. Feel the surface, knowing that paw pads are sensitive even if they are thicker.
5) Mind the humidity. It gets sticky in August. A high dew point day might make it harder for the dog to cool down. Even on overcast but humid days, your pet is in danger of heatstroke.
6) Be cool. Popcicles are fun for kids, but the sugar and colorings aren’t the smartest pet treats. Get your dog an icecube tray. Throw a couple chunks of kibble into each slot, add water, and freeze. We’ll bet that even a dog who didn’t chew ice before is going to like this treat, which does double-duty by cooling him or her off.
7) Keep grooming. Removing mats and loose hair can help the dog keep cool. You don’t want to shave a dog yourself without checking with your vet: The same hair that keeps them comfy in cold weather may be insulating them from the harshest heat, too. Grooming will also alert you to ticks and fleas, which are more active in August than just about any other month, and mosquito bites. Mosquitoes carry heartworm.
Alden’s Kennels is vigilant about every pet in our care and encourages you to watch for the same signs we do: Heavy panting/drooling, rapid breathing or heartbeat, dark red tongue or lips, weakness, and/or agitation. See these? Call your vet.