We’ve heard a lot about how you can stay cool during Los Angeles’ current heat wave but what about your pooch? The baths I have my minpins this afternoon not only cooled them down but also gave them bursts of energy (I didn’t try anything with the cats). I was curious as to what the experts recommend on how to keep your pets safe, cool, and healthy this summer, I asked Marsha from Devil Dog Ranch for some advice. Marsha, a dog-lover and trainer extraordinaire offers these helpful tips:
1. Never leave your dog in a parked vehicle, not even for a short while or in the shade. Even on a relatively cool day with the windows open, a car can quickly become a furnace and over-heating could be fatal. Dogs cannot roll down the windows and have a relatively inefficient way of cooling themselves down – it’s known as panting.
2. Exercise your dog in the cool of the early morning or evening – hot asphalt or pavement can burn their paws. If you doubt this, go ahead and place your palm face down on the ground and see how hot it is before you take your dog for a walk. Extra precautions should be taken with senior dogs, short-nosed dogs, overweight dogs, black dogs, and thick-coated dogs, as they can more quickly succumb to heat-stress.
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3. Here are some tips to keep them safe during hot weather Provide your dog with plenty of fresh drinking water and shade while they’re outdoors. Place ice cubes in their drinking water whenever possible.
4. If you have the space, set up a kiddie’s wading pool in your yard for the dogs. Mine love lying in it to cool down. One of my dogs prefers to just stand in it. He can do this for hours.
5. Keep your dog clean and well-groomed to reduce the chances of summer skin problems. I have the groomer give all my dogs short *puppy cuts* for the summer. It is so much easier to keep them free of burrs and foxtails with a short coat, not to mention how much more comfortable they seem to be in this hot weather.
6. If your dog gets shaved down for the summer, protect him or her from the direct rays of the sun. Animals with white or light-colored coats and pink noses are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. Apply sunscreen to his or her nose and ear tips as a precaution.
7. Ask your vet to recommend a flea and tick preventative program, as this is the time of year when these nasty parasites are most prevalent. This year seems to be extremely bad for ticks.
8. Avoid taking your pet to crowded summer events such as fairs or festivals. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and even dangerous for pets.
9. Freeze whatever you normally stuff in their Kongs. I make a mixture of kibble, canned food and a bit of water, and stuff the Kong. (be sure to plug the top hole with a piece of kibble so the mixture doesn’t ooze out). That’s how I deliver my dog’s morning meal – it’s something yummy, cool, and fun to chew while I’m at work.