My dog, Mojito, came to live with me 6 years ago last week. He came to me as an 8 week-old puppy that was taken from his mother too soon. We bonded instantly and have been inseparable ever since. I take him into consideration when we get a new house, go on vacation, even go to the pool for the afternoon. He hates to be alone during the day and will often wait by the door for me to get back. A lot of people tell me that I need to get another dog for him to be with but we are definitely a single dog family.
Now that it is summer I think about him getting too hot. I like to sit outside in the sun and read while I eat my lunch each day. I live in a desert climate and so it gets really hot and really sunny, but Mojito loves to be with me so he likes to sit outside with me during lunch as well. We also like to camp and we take Mojito with us when we go out to the desert or mountains on over-nighters.
Here are some tips for keeping pets cool in the heat of the day.
Protect Their Paws (and bottoms)
The ground outside can get very hot during the heat of the day. If the ground is too hot for you to be barefoot, it is too hot for a dog. Hot asphalt can and does burn pet paws. I sit on a chair on the concrete on the side of my house and I bought Mojito a dog bed that is raised off of the ground to help keep him cool. It did not cost a lot and it allows airflow beneath him. He stands, sits, and lays on it when we are outside.
Keep Their Hair Short
Animals with thick coats feel the heat. Keep your pets groomed short as temperatures start to rise. Leave at least 1 inch of topcoat to protect your pet from the sun because their skin can burn too. Mojito has short hair so we don’t need to worry about cutting his hair but we do do have a long haired cat, Seven, that we shave into a lion cut. We know that she is more comfortable when her hair is short because she is a much happier girl.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Be sure your pet has enough clean, cool water. Day old water that has been sitting there all night will not do the trick. Do you want to drink water that has been sitting in an open cup all night on the patio? No, and nether do your pets. Always take fresh water on walks with your pets. Bringing water is especially important if you bring your four legged friend along on trips where they may be sitting outside or in the car for a long time. They get thirst driving around the same as we do. And NEVER NEVER NEVER leave a pet alone in the car for any length of time!
Dogs do not sweat, they release extra body heat through panting. Check out the way your pet is breathing when you are outside. You watch for heat stroke in kids and you should watch for it with your pets as well. Common signs for exhaustion or heat stroke include:
- Loud, heavy panting, gasping for air, and/or huffing and puffing
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Lethargy or weakness
- Abnormally rapid heartbeat
- Muscle tremors, shaking, and/or seizures.