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Help Your Pup through the Heat

Cole Porter wrote it. Our Care Associates and our Barkers live it. It's Too Damn Hot. With temps in the 90's, high 90's and some places hitting the 100's making it through can be a question of knowing what you are doing. Here are some tips from our walkers to make the summer days, shall we say, more cool.

First: KNOW YOUR DOG. Brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds, Northern breeds such as huskies, puppies, older dogs, compromise dogs are all more susceptible to the heat and should be treated with extra special caution. Breeds from the hotter climates such as Chihuahua tend to adapt better to the heat. But watch your own dog carefully for signs of stress and act accordingly. Working dogs such as shepherds must be especially watched as they are predisposed to keep going until they drop so they often won't signal their discomfort.

Second: CHOOSE WHERE YOU WALK. Touch the pavement. That's where those dog paws have to walk. Before you go out rub Musher's wax into pup's paw pads as a layer of protection and try to allow pup to walk on grass strips when possible, go to the park and if you have a choice between blacktop or concrete, walk on the concrete. The blacktop absorbs more heat and will be hotter. Always check those paws when you come home for damage after a hot walk.

Third: TIME YOUR WALK. If you can walk early in the day or later in the afternoon/evening when it's cooler, more the better. If necessary, shorten the walk and substitute indoor playtime. If it's onerous, duck into a building lobby for two or three minute for the two of you to cool down as you walk. Duck into a building lobby for two or three minutes for the two of you to cool down as you walk.

Fourth: WATCH YOUR DOG. Any signs of lethargy or paw injury are real warning signs.

Fifth: CARRY & OFFER WATER. Maybe this should be the first tip. And it is certainly a tip for both you and pup. If you don't carry a portable water bowl or deli container you can use an unscented poop bag for pup to drink from. Don't let pup drink from common drinking bowls such as offered by kind shopkeepers as they potentially carry diseases. Same warning about puddles.

Sixth: MAKE IT COOL FOR PUP. Here are a few tips. Dress him in a wet t-shirt when you go out. Mist the air around him with a spray bottle as you walk. Let him lie on the tile floor in your bathroom or kitchen. Give him a bath and grooming. Take him swimming if he likes that. Offer ice cubes if he's into that.

Seventh: USE DOGGIE SUNBLOCK if your pup has exposed skin and you'll be in the sun for a while. Do not use human sunblock. The reason is that human sunblock has zinc oxide which is very effective but is toxic to dogs. And dogs tend to lick, especially if you put it on their nose, the most common place for exposed skin.

With some planning and thought, summer can be a great season with your pup. Enjoy and keep cool!

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