Summer Heat and your Dog-How to Keep your Canine Companion Safe

When it comes to summer safety and your canine companion, the rules are very much the same for human or beast. Below are a few suggestions to make this time of year enjoyable and safe for everyone.

Keeping the Indoor Environment Safe

While many people feel that they are doing everything they can to protect their dog from heat related issues by keeping them indoors, the fact is if the indoor environment is higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit then you have a problem. Dogs can become overheated in this type of environment. But……I know everyone has to leave their dog sometime. Well, before you decide to never leave your dog at home; let’s consider a few techniques to keep the temperature down.

The first one is to turn the air on to lower the temperature. To save money, make sure to close drapes and/or blinds to keep the sun out of the home. If you do not have air conditioning, make sure to leave fans on and open windows where it is safe to do so.

The second technique is one that can be used inside or out. What is it? Well the answer is simple and I like to refer to it as “doggie ice.” This “doggie ice” is simply made by either just freezing ice cubes or a block of ice. Once frozen and before I leave the house, I put the “doggie ice” in my dog’s water bowl. While some dogs like to lick the block, which provides them with a cool drink of water, the other use is to act like air conditioning when the dog is around his or her water bowl. When using this technique though, make sure that the water bowl can hold the liquid created from the frozen water.

Protecting your Dog from Outdoor Heat Related Issues

Beyond the frozen water technique described above, there are other ways of protecting your dog from heat. The first one sounds simple but it is this fact-if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog. Not only is this true about the air temperature but also the pavement. This latter issue is one of my pet-peeves. Yes, I know dogs have thicker skin on the bottom of their paws; a hot pavement will still burn the skin. In doing so, plan your activities early in the morning if any activity is going to be on pavement.

Other suggestion I have for dealing with the heat and your dog is to provide a cooling microenvironment. A shady tree can work but this is not always available. But……you can simply make a cooling microclimate with a cooling vest or mat. How these items work is simple. Both of them come with a cooling insert that is either placed in the fridge or dunked in water, depending on the brand. As the water evaporates from the insert, the dog is cooled.

If you decide to use this technique, never put the insert directly against your dog’s skin.

While these are just a few suggestions, the key is to your dog’s safety is to simply consider the heat and whether you would really feel safe and comfortable in that environment with a fur coat on. If the answer is no, stay inside a cool environment but if the answer is yes, then provide some of these techniques so that everyone has a safe summer.