Tucson is hot. Like 110 degrees hot. And if I’m feeling the heat, you better believe your dogs are too. Here’s how we at The Polite Canine keep our pups comfortable during the brutal summer months.
Lynn and I both have bully breeds and due to their shorter snouts, their breathing can be more restricted than other breeds. We have to be extra vigilant when exercising them in heat like this. We advise owners to also be very aware of their elderly or infirmed pets in the extreme heat. And remember that dogs with short fur and exposed skin (those bully bellies!) can get sunburnt too.
The most obvious way to keep your pets cool is to keep em inside. Draw the blinds closed, set the AC to a comfortable temperature or have fans directed at them to keep them cool. Above all, keep them out of direct sunlight (and don’t even get us started on not leaving them in a hot car). If your dog is outside for any amount of time, make sure they are in the shade and have plenty of water.
Beware signs of heat stroke such as:
- excessive panting & drooling
- increased heart rate
- uncoordinated gate
- falling over or laying down and unable to get back up
- skin on neck not snapping back when pinched
- dark red tongue and pale gums (gums will turn a deep red as condition gets worse)
Do not take the “wait & see” approach, get your pet to a vet immediately if you suspect they are having a heatstroke. Heat stroke can end in seizures, coma, organ failure, and death.
Wait until the sun sets to take your dog out for exercise, and be conscious of the asphalt’s temperature that your dog may be walking on. Check out this helpful infographic created by Gorda Gives Back.
That’s all the scary stuff to beware of–what about the fun ways to keep cool?
Get out the hose, kiddy pool, and super soakers! My shepherd, Bonus, loves to plop right into the kiddie pool and lounge around. The air around him acts as an evaporative cooler as the water on his fur evaporates. For my less water-enthusiastic pups, I spritz them with cold water on their ears and bellies, where the skin is more exposed and blood vessels closer to the skin surface (the water evaporating cools the skin, which cools the blood, which circulates and cools the whole dog). Or I soak a rag in water and stick in the freezer for a few seconds, and put it on the back of their neck.
Looking for a bigger splash? Check out one of these local facilities with a dog pool: A Loyal Companion & K9GTI. Remember water-safety is as important for a dog as it is a child; don’t just throw your dog in your pool if he’s not comfortable getting in himself, and always supervise pool time.
If your dog’s hanging out in his kennel you can freeze a water bottle and wrap it in a towel or sock and leave it in your dog’s kennel to lay down next to.
And finally, let your pup enjoy some icey homemade treats! Who doesn’t love a tasty pupscicle on a scorching summer afternoon? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Cool Treat Recipes
But if you're creative you can come up with your own. If you're unsure if a certain fruit or veggie is safe for your dog to eat, look it up first before trying it.