“Is it hot enough for ya?”
How many times do you hear that over the Summer? If you’re like me, your answers may vary:
“Nope. I’m not happy unless I’m hyperventilating from the heat” or “Yes, I’m on slow roast at the moment.”
Another question we always get here at Hounds Town is ”How do you manage the dogs in this heat?”
This I always answer without being snarky, because keeping your dogs safe in the heat is a very serious matter. Dogs overheat far faster than humans so it’s something we and every pet owner needs to be aware of how to avoid.
Everyone is always more active during the Summer and Fluffy is no different. She sees her family out frolicking and may throw common sense to the wayside and attempt to keep up. If she does overheat and you suspect heat exhaustion, wrap her in a wet towel and RUN to the vet. I hate to initiate panic but if you see excessive panting or difficulty breathing, feel a rapid heartbeat, see massive drooling, abnormal fatigue or, God forbid, the dog flat out collapses, she is in some serious distress. And please understand this can all happen very very fast. Everything might seem fine but then a half hour later you notice the dog has vomited or passed bloody diarrhea and then next thing you know, the dog is in full out heat exhaustion.
With all that being said, we have some tried and true methods of keeping everyone cool here and in our own homes:
Obviously we keep the atmosphere cool. Huge exhaust fans, AC, etc. But since our guys go in and outside, we have sprinklers – which are nice for the dogs who don’t like to immerse themselves in the baby pools we also keep in all of the runs.
Baby pools are great because the dogs can play in them, drink out of them or, as is often the case, do both simultaneously. And there’s no real fear of drowning if a large dog is playing in 4 inches of water (but I do beg you to supervise your dogs in a “grown up” sized pool. Not all dogs can swim and the ones who can do get tired.).
I also freeze just about anything I can think of. Frozen plastic water bottles are both fun for the dogs to chew on as well as providing an aid for keeping them cool. My Magoo will eat ice cubes (shocker, I know, he’s normally so picky about what he eats. Not.) so if your dog is content to chew on them as well, freeze a metal bowl then put some ice cubes in it for your dog to pick on. You can also freeze your dog’s water bowl with a bit of water on the bottom to make a large ice cube so when you fill it with water, it will be icy cold for a while.
If you want to take your pup for a walk on a day that’s super hot, wet and freeze a bandana. Pop it on your dog before you go and as it melts, it will keep his or her chest cool. Fetch Doggies sells these nifty water bottles that turn into a little trough for dog’s to drink out of while on the go called Gulpies. These things are a God send when out walking on a hot day.
I highly recommend giving Fido a shave down for the Summer months. And I know some of you hate to do it, to which I can relate since we love seeing our Springer Spaniel with his full, glorious coat but trust me – between going in and out of the pool then rolling in the dirt so he looks like a breaded chicken cutlet and then panting for two hours after coming inside, it’s worth him being next to naked for two months out of the year.
Hopefully these tips have been helpful for you as we go into Summer. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me: Marianne@houndstownusa.com