Keeping Your Pet Cool in the Summer
When temperatures start to rise, we see more red on our patio thermometers, some of us get very uncomfortable in the heat. Now imagine yourself in the same setting wearing a fur coat!
Hopefully we have all come to a place where we understand how dangerous it is to keep an animal inside a car, even on the mildest of summer days, this exposure to extreme heat can lead to permanent brain damage, organ failure and death. “Leaving your pet unattended in a vehicle is one of the most irresponsible things an owner can do,” says Connie Mallory, Chief Inspector of the Ontario SPCA, “Leave your pet at home and if you must take your pet make sure that someone is with it at all times.”
Mallory is launching a “No Hot Pets” program and reminds us that should you find a dog in distress from suspected heatstroke, symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, listlessness or unconsciousness, they are in need of immediate medical attention. In the meantime, take them to a cooler area, wet their fur with lukewarm or cool (not cold) water and offer them a some drinking water. Take the pledge to not leave pets unattended in vehicles at www.nohotpets.ca
Obviously we never want our dogs to get to a place where they are overheated and have symptoms of heatstroke, so here are the three best ways to keep our canines cool:
ICE, ICE BABY
As mentioned previously, never put a hot dog into icy water, it can cause shock and a myriad of other medical problems, but ice and ice water is a welcome treat for a warm pet. ABC News recently dispelled a myth that giving dogs icy or frozen water is dangerous and could cause bloat. Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, said that information is actually false.
“This is not true,” said Wismer. “Dogs do not bloat from drinking ice water on hot days. They can be given as treats or put in the water bowl. Some behaviorists even recommend freezing toys or treats in ice for dogs to chew on.”
Many pet owners will get their dogs groomed regularly, especially during the warmer months. Often called a summer cut, this shaving of their fur is not recommended for all breeds. Some canines have thick, multi-layered coats that act as insulation, keeping them warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
The ASPCA warns us that extensive trimming and shaving can be harmful in some cases dependent upon breed. Visiting a professional groomer who knows what cuts are best for which particular breed, regular brushing and some light trimming is better for some dogs.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Whether inside or out, dogs need plenty of fresh water and even more so in the summer months. For dogs that spend time outdoors, say in a back yard or other outdoor fenced area, make sure there is plenty of shade and consider getting them a “kiddie pool” for extra comfort especially in hotter climates. If you do get a mini-pool for your pooch, please remember:
- Change the water regularly and do not allow it to become stagnant.
- Make sure your dog has another source of drinking water, preferably in the shade.
- A personal pool is not a substitute for shade.
- Make sure the dog is able to stand with its mouth above the waterline.
- For smaller dogs, consider digging a small hole so the waterline is even with the ground.
Let’s do our very best to keep our pooches plenty cool this summer and every summer thereafter. Remember! Never leave your pet in the car alone. Ever. Not for one minute. Not even with the car running and the air conditioning on. It’s just too big of a risk.
Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer whom has donated countless hours to supporting her local shelter. She has spent most of her research with writing about animals; food, health and training related. She also has experienced numerous methods of training with local Southern California trainers.
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