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Fast Ideas to Keep Your Dog Cool

Everyone knows dogs need plenty of cool water to drink when it's hot. Try these inexpensive ideas for your dog to beat the heat.

  • Did you know that metal water dishes absorb the heat of the sun and make the water get hot faster? So use a plastic bucket that holds a larger volume of water that will take longer to get hot.
  • Try freezing a plastic milk or juice bottle full of water at night to put in the water bucket every morning to keep the water cooler longer.
  • Put a couple of pails of water out for your dog in different areas in case one of them is knocked over; that way there will still be water available to him.
  • Use a kid's plastic wading pool as both a source of drinking water and a place for a dog (or 2 or 3) to splash around, lie down, get wet and cool off. Be sure the dog can get in and out of the pool easily so there is no danger of drowning. If you have very small dogs, try a shallow dishpan or (new) litter box for a pint-sized pool.
  • Also, did you know a dog can burn the pads of their feet in this weather on very hot concrete, asphalt, and the bed of pick-up trucks left in the sun? If you dog has to put paws on these surfaces in this heat, consider getting them foot protection...that's right, dog boots in July and August, available at local stores that sell pet products. Protect those precious paws.
  • You can help your dog beat the heat as well as satisfy his urge to dig by filling a kid's wading pool with clean sand and soak it completely. Dogs frequently dig in the yard to find a cooler, damper spot to chill their belly. You can encourage them to dig by hiding treats and toys in the sand pool and show them how to dig (and save your roses). This will help keep them occupied while no one is home, which is a good thing because a bored dog is one that gets into trouble! You might want to cover the sand pool when not in use as cats may want to use them as giant litter boxes!!

Dog Breeds Prone to Heat Exhaustion

Hot weather safety is a concern for all pet owners. To keep pets safe, it's imperative to always provide them with access to fresh drinking water, never leave them in a parked car, limit exercise and playtime to the early mornings or evenings, and to always be on the lookout for signs of heatstroke. All dogs are at risk, but some breeds are more sensitive to heat than others. Below are dog breeds that are especially prone to heat exhaustion:

  • Pugs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have short noses, small skulls, and a compressed upper respiratory system. Dogs with these characteristics have a harder time cooling themselves off through panting than other breeds. Other such breeds include Pekinese, Shih Tzus and Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apso.
  • Boxer: These loyal dogs make playful and clownish companions, but they need to keep the playing to a minimum during the hottest part of the day.
  • Bulldogs: Yet another short-faced breed, bulldogs are not highly effective at cooling themselves down during the summer months. This includes the English Bulldog, the Old English Bulldogge, the American Bullldog and my favorite, the French Bulldog. A note here, pit bulls are very commonly called bulldogs in Alabama but in fact they are not members of the Bulldog family. They belong to the terrier group, as indicated by their named American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: These dogs don't do well in excessive heat or excessive cold, like many toy breeds including Pomeranians.
  • Akitas and other heavy coated, cold-weather dogs (Husky type dogs, Anatolian Shepherds, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Chows, Irish Wolfhounds, to name a few. These dogs have thick coats meant for colder climates. Extra care should be taken in warm climates to ensure these dogs have plenty of water, shade and access to a cool place to rest.
If you ever think your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, seek veterinary attention immediately, as it can be fatal. Symptoms of heat stroke include excessive panting, bright red gums, swollen tongue, lack of balance, a rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

Fireworks can be scary for your pet

The Fifth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for many animal shelters. These tips will help keep your pets safe.
  • Put a collar and tag with your cell number on it.
  • Keep them inside while fireworks are going off, in a lighted room with the windows covered, and a tv or radio on to help block the sound. You can crate them but be sure they have water.
  • Do NOT take them with you to fireworks.
  • You can also try Thundershirts, available locally at vet offices and pet stores; compression garments that help reduce stress.
  • If your pet has to be medicated, be sure to see your vet before the big day itself.