Making sure your dog is ready for the heat.
Here we are in Missouri, enjoying the heat and humidity. The dog days of summer are enough to put any dog into a daze!
These high temperatures and humidity are really only fun if you are floating in a swimming pool, and our four-legged friends feel exactly the same way. So, it’s our responsibility to make sure our pets are safe and comfortable.
Dogs reduce their body temperature in different ways than we do. They pant, and they only sweat through the pads of their feet. Given this limited way of dissipating heat, it’s imperative that they always have access to fresh, cool water. Avoid walking during the peak heat hours of the day; that pavement gets extremely hot and can burn their feet. Boots are an option, but they take some training to get used to. It might be better to pick a grassy path that is well shaded. If you don’t want to go for a walk because it’s too hot, it’s a safe bet that your dog doesn’t either.
Grooming can play a big part in helping them stay cool as well, but this is also a very controversial decision.
Some well-respected dog experts say shaving is a good way to keep dogs cool in very hot locations. But there are also studies that say not to shave your pet, as their coat is a key factor in insulating them from the heat. Not only does fur help keep your pet cooler, it also helps protect them from sunburn and skin cancer. So, good grooming is key to this concept. The coat should be clean, and the undercoat should be removed. Double-coated breeds usually shed their undercoat naturally, but I know from experience that it wreaks havoc on your house and can take quite a while.
Professional grooming can help! A qualified groomer can help you determine what the best option is for your breed by providing grooming options — not by just shaving it off. If a healthy trim is absolutely what you want, I like to see at least an inch of hair left for sun protection. And, honestly, they just look cuter.
No matter what time of the day, don’t let the temperature fool you. Your dog can get too hot in weather as low as 80 degrees. Add in humidity and exercise, and it could be a recipe for disaster. Summer can be a great time to play with your four-legged best friend outside, but play it safe.
A few quick tips:
- Dogs love to lounge in little lounge pools, and sprinklers can be great fun for dogs, too.
- Do NOT leave them in the car, even for a few minutes.
- A cooling jacket can work wonders.