We are at the height of summer with the heat it brings. We want both you and your pup to enjoy these days. This is an excerpt from the handouts we give our students when Brooklyn Bark teaches CPR/first aid. All our walkers and many of our Barkers have taken this course so here is a refresher just when we all need it.
They share these tips for pups during the Dog Days of Summer:
1. Know your dog. This is the most important of all our tips, for some dogs are totally unphased by the summer's heat while others have to be dragged from the apartment if the temp is over 70. In general, the dogs who have the most trouble in the heat are Northern breeds such as huskies, elkhounds, neufies. Oh those heavy coats!
Small dogs. They have a large surface to volume ratio which makes temp control difficult at both ends of the spectrum.
Short nosed breeds. Getting enough O2 into a bulldog or a boxer can be trying when the air is smoggy and thin.
Young dogs, older dogs and dogs with health issues.
2. Time your walks, if possible. Early morning, late evening are coolest part of the day. We come alive and so do our pups.
3. Select your route, if possible. Parks, streets with trees and grass sidewalk strips not only have the coolest air temp in town but also have the most friendly turf for those paws to walk. If the heat is oppressive, duck into a lobby for a short cool-down. No way could someone object.
4. Watch your dog as he walks, interacts, plays. If you notice a difference - generally a lethargy - in his demeanor that can be a sign of impending heat problems. Get him cooled down. You're not sure? Better safe than sorry.
5. Carry drinking water for pup. And for you, but that's a different article. There are collapsible water bowls, foldables that carry water on your belt, a plethora of choices. Get one and use it. Or carry a deli container of water. That works and the price is right.
6. Try to let pup walk on grass or in the shade. Those paw pads can burn! When you get back home, check them for roughness and apply Musher's Secret or your own skin cream to help them recover.
7. Ice cubes. Some dogs love to chew on them. How smart! What fun! Give them the cubes.
8. Cooling vest. There is a new product our vet recommends, It's from a Manhattan company called Gramercy Distribution. If you want to go low tech, soak a t-shirt in water and put it on pup before going out.
9. Carry a spray bottle with water to mist pup. Whether he likes it or not, it will cool him.
10. Take pup to the groomer for a bath and a clip. Think how light your own hair feels after a shampoo.
11. And never pass up a chance to take your pooch swimming. It is one of the great joys of dogdom.