Help Your Dog “Beat the Heat”

by Drs. Foster and Smith on April 18, 2011

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Where did all the snow go?

Where did all the snow go?

**Guest post from Ellen B.**

Spring has made its way here into the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and I am anxiously waiting summer! My new puppy, Izzy, is a little confused about the snow rapidly disappearing (she still manages to seek out little snow piles left in shaded areas) but she will be so happy when she discovers the joys of summer weather. The recent nice weather has brought a certain “spark in his eyes” back to my 3-year-old dog, Kobe. He is simply blissful that we can go on daily walks again so he can sniff out the neighborhood.

Now that I have two dogs, I’m thinking ahead to be sure I’m prepared for hot weather. Since we spend a lot of time on the lake and walking, I need to plan for those two activities.

Suggestions For Being Dog-Prepared For Summer

Water Play
My older dog isn’t a natural swimmer, but with our puppy being a lab-boxer mix, I suspect it will be a challenge to keep her from dashing to the lake every chance she gets! My lab mix that passed a few years ago was crazy about the water, so I plan to get a few toys that proved to withstand extreme dog-love for water:

Soft Bite Floppy Disc Dog Toy For maximum lake fun, I recommend a Soft-Bite Floppy Disk. This dog toy is helpful for humans because it easily flies a long distance. We spent many entire afternoons on the beach, and after a while, everyone is tired of throwing a fetch toy for the dog! Longer the distance, fewer the throws…whether on water or land. Enough said.
Soft Flex Football Any type of Soft-Flex ball is a good heavy-duty fetch toy. I tend to get the Soft-Flex Football because it’s a bit easier to throw, but regular balls are just as good.
Dog-Life-Jacket Think a life jacket for a dog is a crazy product? I admit I may have when I had my lab, but not since I got Kobe! He doesn’t even care for wading on the shoreline, so I didn’t think he liked to swim. However, last summer I got him a life jacket for going out on the boat. It has these awesome handles on it that make it easy to lower and raise dogs from the water. While we were anchored and swimming, I lowered him down and he took off like a fish! Since he isn’t naturally drawn to the water, I would never have let him in the middle of the lake without the life jacket. He had so much fun, and we all had fun watching him!

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Dogs generally enjoy water whether it is in a lake or in your yard. Set up a sprinkler or fill a plastic kiddie pool to let your dog have some “cool” fun!

Allergies
Aller-Chlor

Last year I wrote about my dog developing airborne allergies (see My Dog Scratches – A Lot!). Allergies can bring a fast halt to summer activities. Aller-Chlor pills ended up giving him relief from his allergies (after a round of antibiotics for an ear infection). Since Aller-Chlor also took care of his tearstains, I continued to give them to him throughout winter, although not consistently. Now is the time to get back on a consistent schedule with Aller-Chlor so I AVOID a nasty ear infection and putting him through crazy scratching.

Is Aller-Chlor right for your dog? I don’t know, but if you suspect your dog suffers from allergies, talk to your veterinarian.

Hydration <== VERY IMPORTANT!
On a hot day, a dog can become dehydrated in only a few hours if fresh water is not available. Water is vital for keeping your dog’s body functioning properly. It also helps to avoid heat stroke.

Water Bottle

In addition to waiting for cooler evening hours for walks, I also take water along for my dog. It really helps his stamina and makes walks more enjoyable for him. It works best to give him a water break before he shows any signs of being hot. This portable water bottle for dogs is really convenient. For more tips on keeping your dog properly hydrated, read Tips to Prevent Dog Dehydration.

Related Posts About Dogs and Summer:

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Puppy Luv April 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

The number one thing you have to make sure of in the summer is ample hydration and water. Because dogs do not sweat like humans to natural cool themselves be sure to keep on eye out for signs that show they are too hot, like profuse and rapid panting, bright red tongue, thick drooling saliva, wide eyes with a glassy look and/or lack of coordination; these are all signs of potential heat exhaustion for dogs. If you notice any of these let the dog rest, get plenty of water or chew on some ice cubes if you have any and find a nice shady place. With that said don’t be afraid of the hot summer days just be smart and prepared for the weather.

Rosemary April 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I’m not sure how warm it is up in Wisconsin, but here on the Texas Gulf Coast, we are expecting the low 80′s today. I’ve already had to carry Lucky three times in the last few weeks because we’ve gone just a little too far. I carry water for them (and me), but he doesn’t like to drink out of any of the portable bowls or bottles I’ve tried. If he gets really thirsty, he will drink some, but not enough. I keep an eye on him, and when he looks ready to quit, I carry him for a few blocks. He’s close to 30 pounds, and doesn’t actually like to be carried, so I try to avoid getting him overheated. I think when it gets warmer, I will leave him at home, and just take Ilka.

I would like to take Ilka swimming, but we have alligators down here, so that probably won’t happen. I wish I could find a doggie swimming pool, but that is also probably won’t happen.

Nicola April 24, 2011 at 7:22 am

This is such a great article – I have known many beautiful dogs that have permenant and very heartbreaking health problems because their owners left them out in the sun for too long, didnt realise the signs of the dogs being dehydrated or simply didnt think or care. People don’t realise that dogs need a lot of water normally, but in the sun they need a lot more because they have a thick coat.
Nicola

Laura July 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I’m in FL, and only rarely make it back to the North Woods…but every spring I get my dogs’ winter coats “unzipped” and have them shaved. My Aussie just got a redo to beat the 100′s….and she is much happier….I just have to time the last grooming so that her coat fills in before winter in FL…in North FlL it gets down below freezing at night.

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