We've had a few hot days and seen lots of people taking great care of their dogs. As we chat with friends, all of us share tips on how we're rearranging our routines to make things safer for our canine companions. Here are a few of those ideas.
Arrange your walk schedule so that longer treks are in the cooler parts of the day. Slow down and let your dog take more breaks and maybe even a short snooze, if that's what works for him or her. Offer drinks of water often.
If you use dog walkers, ask them to adjust how long your dog is out in the heat.
This is especially important if your dog is in fragile health, elderly, or one of the flat-faced breeds that are susceptible to brachycephalic syndrome, a condition that makes breathing more difficult.
Carry water for your dog. Most pet supply shops sell water bottles with attached caps or covers that serve as a dog cup. There are collapsible water dishes that you can fill from a water fountain or your own bottle of water.
Check the Heat of the Pavement
Press your hand on the blacktop for 10 seconds as a way to determine if it will be uncomfortable or dangerous for your dog.
On hot days, let your dog walk on grass or dirt as much as possible to give those paws a break.
If you are visiting an even hotter climate than ours this summer, consider putting boots on your dog, if that’s the only way to protect bare paws from the hot pavement.
We've also discovered that the white lines painted as crosswalks are much cooler than the blacktop, so we direct Poppy's paws along that path as we cross streets.
At the beach, sand can be as hot as pavement, check it with your own bare feet. Walking along the wave line or in shallow water can give your dog a break from the hot sand.
It should go without saying that you should never leave your dog in a car in hot weather. The American Veterinary Medical Association warns, “The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes.” They also say, “We've heard the excuses: ‘Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,’ or ‘But I cracked the windows …’ These excuses don't amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a vehicle.”
Here's a post we did on that topic complete with a video by a veterinarian who stayed in a hot car to show what happens.
Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino (edited for BostonZest from one of our City Paw newspaper columns)
Photos: ©2014-2016 Penny & Ed Cherubino