Tip of the Week

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tip of the Month: Dog Safety in the Heat

Heat stroke is devastating to pets and humans alike.  But it can be harder to know if your pet is showing symptoms of heat stroke.  I am always concerned about heat stroke for my dogs, especially when we have a heat wave early in the spring and summer season.

This week the heat wave continues so I have taken steps to prevent heat stroke for my dogs.  In the spring, I step up the brushing of their coats since neither of my dogs "blow out" their coats.  What I mean by "blow out" their coats is the tuffs of fur that many breeds of dogs (and other animals) develop after winter when they are shedding or molting their winter fur coats.  My dogs constantly shed, but I brush more fur off in the spring than any other time of year.

When my dogs stay outside I make sure there are cool, shady spots and plenty of water available to them.  I prefer the large stainless steel dog bowls for water bowls outside instead of plastic or ceramic.  This way I don't have to worry about BPA or other chemicals of painted ceramic contaminating their water.  I would note that if the water sits too long in the bowls or the outside temperature is high (not necessarily that the water was in the sun) that the stainless steel bowl will develop a little algae growth.  Just be sure to clean the bowl and add fresh water.  I make sure to add fresh water several times a week, anyways.  And those that conserve water, just dump the water in the bowl in your plants (as long as you are not using soft water from the house - that can kill many plants).

At other times, I allow my dogs inside where they find cool spots on the floor in front of the fans I usually have running.  If you normally run the A/C in your house, give floor fans and ceiling fans a try.  Most of the time I can circulate air in the house and keep it cool with fans and avoid the A/C and high electricity bill.

My other tips to keep my dogs cool are:
- avoid walking during the hottest hours of the day (high heat on the ground can also burn dogs paw pads)
- take water for your pet when you walk or travel
- do not leave your pet in the car in any warm or hot temperatures (there are gadgets you can hang in the car  
   that tell you the temperature inside your vehicle).
- always provide fresh water for your pet, whether they are inside or outside
- always provide shade and shelter for your pet if they are outside
- try frozen treats (like Honest Kitchens Icy Pups) as an alternative treat
- give your dog a bath in cool (not cold) water or go swimming!

And finally check out this article for symptoms of heat stroke and other tips to prevent heat stroke.

Pool surfing as a pup

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