Summer is almost upon us and as the days heat up care needs to be taken to keep our dogs safe from summer heat hazards. Are you prepared? Here’s a brief run down of some cool ideas to ward off heat related maladies this summer.
- Hydration: Never leave home with your dog unless you have water for them. There are many great carry along bottle arrangements available for dog owners today, I think I have bought nearly every one of them too. They are all great, most have some type of cap that doubles as a drinking cup. Frozen bottles of water work well too, as you hike they thaw but are still cool when you pour them out for your dog; just remember to bring along your collapsible dish if you do this. Plan the amount of water you take on the distance and time you will be out.
- Booties: Hot Beach Sand or hot pavement can cause problems for the pads of your dog’s feet. A quick test to see if it’s too hot for them to walk on is to put your hand down and hold it there for 30 seconds or more. If you can’t stand it then they probably won’t either. Make sure the booties you buy are well fitting and that you get your dog use to them before you need to use them. Ultrapaws are one of my favorites.
- Fans: If you are going to be stationary for any time you might want to have a fan set up just for your dog, particularly if you are going to crate them. Contractors I found have great portable fans that run all day on rechargeable batteries that are great for this purpose. I added a solar back up to my set up and its stays charged all the time.
- Shade Screens: Every dog owner should carry a reflective shade screen for their dog. These are easy to set up over a crate, over your car, as a tent over your sitting place, basically where ever you are you can have relief from the blazing sun. The reflective nature of the screens really keep it very cool for the dog and with your fan going all will be good.
- Cool Pads and Collars: Great new items for dog lovers are the cooling beads in dog pads and collars. These work really well as I learned first hand when I was working dogs in Central America where the tropical temperatures where really high. My dogs had these in their crates as they were being transported allowing them to arrive fresh and ready to go.
Finally, I want to suggest to you to please PLAN your summer outing with your dog(s) in advance. For example, I will plan on hot days to get the morning training lessons done before the sun fully rises while the temperatures are still relatively cool. I then end the session near a water source so everyone can cool off. This type of planning keeps everyone working strong and enjoying it throughout the summer. The 8 week old pups I have in training now figured out this strategy after only a few days and now I don’t have to say a word and they head straight for the water at the end of the session!