Summer is here, and she’s in a nasty mood. Temperatures this week have soared into the mid-to-high 90s and yesterday reached 100 degrees. For hairless humans, the risk of sunburn becomes an issue and even the fur-kids (especially those with white fur) can develop burns on the thinly furred areas like ear tips and the bridge of the nose. Some dogs enjoy sunbathing on their backs and get burned tummies!
But the true risk for these hot days is heatstroke. That happens when the body isn’t able to cool off sufficiently. People sweat, but dogs (and cats, too) have sweat glands in their paws which aren’t particularly effective for cooling. Instead the dog relies on panting to cool off–there are also 9 other reasons dogs pant–while kitties only pant when in trouble and more likely lick-lick-lick themselves all over for an evaporative cooling effect. The problem with these techniques, though, is that when the outside air temperature rises to pet body temperature the panting air-exchange won’t work. And the pet overheats and can succumb to heatstroke. Learn more about signs of heatstroke and first aid tips in this heatstroke article.
Those of y’all who regularly read this blog know that the Magical-Dawg LOVES car rides. But cars become deathtraps in even relatively mild temperatures. On a 78-degree day, a shaded car reaches temperatures of 90 degrees but if parked in the sun, it will reach 160 degrees in minutes. Leaving the car running with the AC blowing is no guarantee–even police dogs have died when car cooling systems failed. So for the summer months, Magic’s car rides get limited to brief around-the-driveway morning excursions to pick up the newspaper, or after-dark trips to a drive-through ice cream shop (yes, he gets a taste). I just can’t risk my buddy at any other time.
Magic also adores games of fetch, but in this hot weather, one or two retrieves are enough to leave him gasping–even though he’d continue the game and collapse with a goofy grin and the Frisbee in his dying jaws if I let him. So we’ve had to come up with some alternatives for hot weather SAFE fun. Magic’s favs include:
- Hose tag: chasing the water from the end of the hose
- Pool digging: trying to “fetch” floating toys out of the doggy wading pool
- Pup-sicle treats: chicken-broth “slushies” frozen inside Kong puzzle toys
- Paddling in the tank: that’s the mud-hole yucky man-made pond, and means he gets a hosing off after
How do you keep YOUR hot-doggy a cool customer? Are there special summer time toys or games your pets really enjoy? Do they like to swim? Here are 9 more ways to keep dogs cool. And here’s a bit of video of the Magical-Dawg having some summer water-and-Frisbee-chasing fun. Please share your tips in the comments–and share this blog with others so their hot dogs stay safely cool!
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