By Angela Marler                                                                                        Loving Canine Transformations, Inc.

The summer heat is serious business for dog owners. It is very important that, as owners, you think of your dog’s well being before taking him out on a hot day. Yes, it is wonderful to enjoy the beautiful sunshine together, but please be aware of the heat in the car and on the sidewalk. Nothing is worth your dog’s life! With that being said, here are some tips to help you enjoy the summer months with your dog.

  1. Make sure there is always fresh water available for your dog. If you want to go for a walk with your dog, please do so in the morning or evening hours and always check the sidewalk with the backside of your hand before allowing your dog’s bare paws to walk on it. If you can stand it for 5 seconds, he can too. Remember, the asphalt retains heat so even though the sun may not be shining on the cement, it may still be hot. Always check it first.
  2. Provide shade and/or an indoor space for your dog when you are not home to welcome him inside.
  3. If you are going to have your dog go in the backyard and you don’t have lots of grass, try to accommodate that by putting something on his paws to help him throughout the day. Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax is a good option. Dog shoes are available, but not all dogs like to wear them.
  4. Please know the signs of heatstroke in your dog. Just like humans, heatstroke can cause organ failure, brain damage and even death if unnoticed and untreated.  Watch for heavy panting, collapse or staggering, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, glassy eyes, rapid heartbeat, high body temperature, confusion and behavior changes.  If you suspect heatstroke, move your pet somewhere cool, apply cool compresses or water, and get your dog to a vet as soon as possible.  Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and prompt medical attention may save their life.
  5. NEVER take your dog with you to run errands and leave him in the car, EVER! Your dog’s life is not worth that little bit of time away from you. Do your dog a favor and leave him at home.
  6. Limit the outside exercise during the heat of the day and incorporate inside games or brain games that will help to stimulate fun with your dog and will still tire him. An example of an inexpensive brain game: Fill an empty water bottle (cap, cap ring and label removed) with kibble and different sized treats (for changing the difficulty level). It makes some noise while he plays, but it is a great game for him and it is great brain work.
  7. Work with your dog on training cues like sit, down, focus, stay, go to bed/your spot & leave it. Even if your dog knows these cues, advance them with time and distance then add distraction. Always set him up to succeed by keeping it within his skill level and advancing slowly at his pace. Working these skills on a regular basis not only keeps a great bond between you and your dog, but it is exhausting for your dog and will be a great way to beat the heat. Hopefully, you will see how wonderful it is for your bond and you will continue doing this daily even after the weather cools down.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to tackle the summer months with your dog.

Stay cool and safe.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me.