Photo: KME Photography
Yup, it’s hot out. And while we humans love throwing on a swimsuit and soaking up the rays, summer heat and humidity can be brutal for your dog — especially if you don’t take extra steps to ensure your buddy’s comfort. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your dog has a summer every bit as good as yours.
1. DO NOT Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car
You’ve heard this from us before, and you’ll hear it again: do not, under any circumstances, leave your dog in a parked car. Not for even a single minute. Not to pop into the gas station. Not even if you’ve cracked a window or all the windows. In the summer, cars are like ovens, and your dog could suffer heat stroke and even die. Just don’t do it — you will never forgive yourself if the worst should happen. [Related Story: What To Do If You See A Dog in a Parked Car]
2. Limit Exercise
On hot days like these, you need to limit the intensity and duration of your exercise sessions. Take your walks after the sun goes down or, heck, start your day early and head out at sunrise before the day has had a chance to heat up. And make sure you check the pavement: if you can’t leave the back of your hand on the asphalt comfortably for a full six seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Keep your dog on a dirt path or in the grass, and always carry extra water when you go out. Dogs with short, light-colored fur and dogs with short snouts need to be especially careful, as sunburn and breathing difficulties are concerns, respectively.
3. Water is a Dog’s Best Friend
Always make sure your furry friend has access to lots of cool, clean water, and don’t be afraid to add ice cubes! You can even add a little extra water to your dog’s breakfast bowl — it won’t hurt the kibble, and it’ll help your dog stay hydrated. And if your dog has a little plastic pool to cool off in in the backyard, make sure you change the water frequently — it won’t do your dog much good to cool off if the water she’s dipping into isn’t clean and safe.
4. Provide Shade
As much fun as it is to drink margaritas on a patio, if the patio doesn’t have ample shade for your dog, leave your pup at home. Ideal shade providers include things like umbrellas, tarps, or trees, as they won’t hinder airflow or block a helpful breeze. And that dog house you’ve got in the backyard? It could be doing more harm than good: sure, it’s shaded, but it’s also stiflingly hot in there, as air can’t move freely within those walls.
5. Let Your Dog Dig
Your dog can be pretty resourceful when it comes to cooling down, so if she’s hanging out in the backyard, she might head for your garden to do some digging. Right below that top layer of hot earth is a lot of cool dirt she’ll love to curl up in — our advice? Let her. Just maybe designate a special digging spot in the shade where she can’t ruin your prize geraniums.
6. It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity
No, really! Dogs pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, but if the humidity is too high your buddy can get into trouble pretty quickly — they won’t be able to cool themselves down with all that moisture in the air. So even if the temperature is low, keep an eye on that humidity and on your dog.
7. Give Cool Treats
Lots of dogs love to chew on ice cubes, and if that’s the case for your pup, consider yourself lucky! Ice cubes are practically free, and they’ll hydrate your dog even as they cool her down. And if your pup isn’t totally sold on ice cubes, try mixing a little low-sodium chicken broth into the water in your ice cube trays — just don’t forget which are dog cubes and which are human cubes, or your mojito is going to taste a little funky. [Related Story: Cold DIY Doggie Treats Your Pup Will Love]