Keeping Fido cool during the dog days of summer

The dog days of summer are upon us.  Every time I go out my guy Bandit gets so excited. He bounds down the stairs, skidding across the rug and literally throwing himself against the front door, stopping himself with his big wiggle butt, smiling and twittering with excitement with the prospect of going with me in the car to run my errands while sticking his head out the window. He’s so cute!

But alas, it’s over my 75-degree temperature which I use to gauge whether or not I can my furbaby with me and leave him safely (will all windows rolled down and a bowl of water) in the car. It breaks my heart to have to tell him, “Sorry dude, but it’s too hot to take you with me.” And yes, I do have these conversations with him.

We are lucky as we have a huge fenced in yard that Bandit can roam at his heart’s content, complete with sprinklers and a puppy pool but I do like to take him to the dog parks so he can socialize with other dogs and pee on everything in sight, but this time of year, it’s a little more difficult due to the hot sun I only take him early in the morning or later in the evening and even then it’s pretty warm. Tanner Park is the best option with creek access and the ability for him to just lie in the water and cool himself down but even then, I sometimes eschew the creek at the end due to the lack of shade and how hot it is to get there.

Summer Solutions

So, what are other things we can do to make sure Fido can spend time with us, get his/her exercise, socialize with other animals and basically get what they want all the while keeping them safe and cool?

  • Offer an ice pack or wet towel to lay on.
  • Add ice cubes to the water dish.
  • Offer access to a wading pool with shallow, cool water.
  • Offer access to cool shade by stringing up a tarp, cloth, or use a shade screen.
  • Bring a collapsible water dish on your walks.
  • Replace a portion of their regular diet with canned food.
  • Avoid walking on hot pavement, and consider booties to insulate their toes.
  • Early morning or evening playtimes, exercise, and walks are best.
  • Give your dog some homemade frozen treats. (By the way, Bandit Bitez will be selling puppy fro-yo at our upcoming events – shameless self-promotion).

Heatstroke in dogs: know the signs

  • Raised temperature (101.5° is normal)
  • Rapid breathing and panting
  • Excess salivation and thickened saliva
  • Fatigue or depression
  • Muscle tremors
  • Staggering

If you spot these signs, get your dog inside and contact your vet.

Wrap your dog in cold wet towels, especially the underarm/belly/groin area. A fan may be used on the dog during the cooling process.

Check your dog’s temperature every five minutes and end the cooling treatment when the temperature is down to 103°. Avoid cooling too rapidly to avoid shock. Allow access to cool water, but don’t force your dog to drink. Your vet may push IV fluids if dehydration is a concern.

Dehydration in dogs: know the signs

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Gently pinch a fold of skin at the top of the neck. Is it slow to snap back?

Not all signs of dehydration are easy to detect. If you suspect your dog may be dehydrated, a trip to the vet is recommended.

Offer clean cool water. Try different bowls, adding a splash of carrot juice, chicken broth, or pieces of a favorite fruit to one of the bowls to encourage drinking. Some dogs enjoy a few ice chips in their water dish.

To shave or not to shave… Is that your question?

If your furry friend has a double coat like mastiffs, spitz, or terrier types, you may be tempted to simply shave off all that fuzz in hopes of keeping them cool. Before you break out the razor, you should know there can be several drawbacks to this solution, including a sudden lack of insulation and decreased sun protection.

Additionally, because longer guard hairs have a different growth cycle than inner insulation hairs, it can take years for some dogs to regain their natural appearance.

Be safe and aware in the hot summer sun. Bandit Bitez will be at the Campfire Lounge on Saturday, July 14, 2018 for the Pool PAWty, sponsored by Salt Lake Animal Service.

Let your pup take a romp in the kiddie pools at Campfire Lounge located at 837 E 2100 S, SLC. Win fun prizes & enjoy an evening with your best friend! This is a 21 & older event. Dogs must wear their current rabies tag.

All proceeds raised will be used to educate the public about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars throughout the year.

The Pool PAWty events are part of the Too Cool for Hot Cars campaign, from Salt Lake County Animal Services, to help bring awareness to the dangers of leaving your pets in a vehicle during warm spring, summer, and fall months. What could be more natural than a pool party for happy dogs during the summer months?