The dog days of summer are upon us! This is the month when summer celebrates its glory, bringing us warm, lazy days. If you're traveling with your pet this summer, it's important that you take a few key steps to keep your dog or cat comfortable, even when the mercury rises.
Keep your pet cool and comfortable during the dog days of summer
Dogs and cats overheat more easily than people do. Where we have sweat glands to cool ourselves, dogs and cats only sweat from their noses and foot pads. And since the rest of their bodies are covered in fur, heat can be a real problem. Puppies, older pets, and short-nosed breeds (pugs, bulldogs, boxers, and Persian cats) are especially susceptible to heat-related stress.
Luckily, you can keep your pet happy in the summer by providing lots of shade and water, keeping your pet out of unattended cars, and being observant. Cars are dangerous places in the summertime because the windows collect light, trapping heat inside. Temperatures can build up quickly — on an 85-degree day, a car's internal temperature can rise to 102 degrees within ten minutes. And unfortunately, cracking the windows and parking in the shade does little to keep the heat down.
The best solution is also the most fun — keep your dog with you whenever possible! If your dog can run errands with you, that's an ideal situation. You might even plan your expedition to purposefully include your pet, heading to open-air farmer's markets and craft fairs instead of indoor shops. If you must shop indoors, try to run your errands with a buddy so that one person can sit with the dog in the shade while the other one goes inside.
When you're back at camp, you can keep your dog cool by filling a cheap plastic wading pool with a few inches of water. That's a perfect place for your dog to wallow or keep its paws cool! If you're near the coast, a lake, or a river, you might also consider taking your pup for a swim to cool off.
Many pets, dogs and cats alike, enjoy chasing ice cubes around on the floor. Dogs will often eat the ice, where kitties can get absorbed in games of ice hockey, batting the cube back and forth with you. And of course, a few ice cubes are great for cooling down your pet's water dish.
Pets still need exercise, even when it's hot. If you know the day is going to be warm, plan your walks for early in the morning or later in the evening, when the sun isn't in full force. Then your dog can spend the warmest hours of the day resting in the shade.
There are also a few high-tech gadgets on the market for cooling down hot dogs. You can look into cooling bandanas and jackets of the type that horseback riders wear — get these wet and they'll keep your dog cool for hours. Special fluid-filled dog beds are great for dogs that live in hot climates. And because light-colored dogs are susceptible to sunburns and even skin cancer, you can apply special doggie sun-block to your pup's nose and ears (ask your vet for further details).
Summertime outings are made for dogs, and of course you'll want your furry friend with you on your camping adventures this summer. With just a few smart steps, you can all be comfy and cool, even when the dog days of summer set in.