by Anne-Marie Mayes
We all want to make the most of our summer and include our dogs in different activities. Let’s cover some simple ways we can do this safely:
Walk early morning and late evening
Walk on grass or dirt instead of pavement (if the pavement is too hot for you to put your hand on, then it is too hot for your dog)
Always bring water for both of you, and consider a cooling bandana or vest for your dog
Dogs only get rid of heat by sweating through their feet or panting so involve swimming or wading in water as part of your dog’s exercise
Invest in a kiddie pool for your yard
Do not do cardio with your dog, running or biking during high temps - make sure to consider the humidity as well
Never leave your dog in the car even with windows cracked when it is hot, as your car creates a sauna like atmosphere
Also consider your dog’s age, coat type, and breed. Dogs who are older, overweight, flat-faced, puppies, or have a thicker coat do not tolerate heat very well.
I recommend combining exercise with mental stimulation with activities like fetch in the water, searching for treats in a kiddie pool, walking in the bush and doing dog parkour (feet on a log, circling a tree, sit on a rock, etc.) or setting up an obstacle course in the basement.
A few ways to provide your dog with more water are to feed canned food (you could stuff a Kong with it and freeze it), feed frozen chunks of watermelon, freeze treats, veggies or fruit in water in a Tupperware container- then give them the large ice cube.
Whatever activity you are doing with your dog, it is important to know the signs of Heat Stroke in dogs including bright red tongue and gums or thick saliva and rapid panting. If your animal is suffering from heat stroke please see your vet immediately. Get them in a cool area and then try to cool the animal with cool towels or if he will drink, cool water.
With summer come insects so make sure that you are prepared for your dog(s) too. Use deet-free bug spray for your dogs as you do not want them to ingest the deet. For ticks, some people choose to give Lyme vaccines and/or medication. Tick medications can be topical or oral. These medications get absorbed into the blood stream and when the tick bites your dog they ingest the medication and die. Some tick medications also help repel mosquitos and black flies.
Lastly, with summer come some new sounds: construction, thunderstorms and fireworks. Remember that your dog does not understand where and why they occur so take a few minutes to prepare and have your dog hear the sounds at a lower volume while training and keeping your dog busy. This can help prevent noise phobias. Dogs hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans. They can also hear sounds four times further away so could you imagine hearing fireworks with that intensity?
Our summer season is short and these tips should help you keep your dog safe while you get out and enjoy it.
Amelia & Nuggy sporting matching lifejackets on the paddleboard at camp