Hot dog? Keep him cool

Gloria J. Towle, Special to The County
4 years ago

It doesn’t seem like that long ago we were writing about winter dog care tips.  Thankfully the days have been warm and beautiful. Just as much as we enjoy the summer months you can rest assured our dogs do as well, but there are seasonal threats to the health and well-being of your dog.  Like the cold winter months, we now have to watch out for the heat. Here are a few summer care tips to help make this summer the most safe and enjoyable for you and your pups.

Exercise your dog early in the morning or late at night.  These are the coolest parts of the day and will make for a much more comfortable walk.  If you are unable to exercise your dog during these times of day cut back on the intensity and length of the exercise to avoid overheating.   Remember that dogs absorb and release heat through their paws so walking on cement and asphalt can be especially hot to them.

Never leave your dog in a parked car alone, even if it is in the shade.  We all know how quickly cars can become heat traps for our pets. Please leave your dogs at home if you can.  If you have to bring your dog, leave the car running with the air conditioning on. This is really the only way to ensure your dog doesn’t become overheated in the car.  

The best and most refreshing exercise in the summer is swimming.  Whether in your pool at home or at your favorite swimming hole, your dog will get a lot of exercise and cool off as well.

Remember to keep your dog hydrated.  Always keep a fresh bowl of cool water for your dog and carry a water bottle on walks and hikes.  Dehydration can happen very quickly.

Giving your dog a haircut may help to make him feel cooler but do not shave your dog.  The layers of a dog’s hair help to cool them down and provide protection from the sun. Just a trim will make them feel better but still provide enough hair to protect from the heat and sun.  

Dogs can’t sweat so they cool their bodies by panting.  An overheated dog will pant and drool excessively. They will also become lethargic and their eyes may become bloodshot.  If you notice any of these symptoms take action immediately to cool your dog.

A tidbit to remember about cooling your dog is that dogs cool from the bottom up.  This is one reason why they dig the ground up sometimes before they lie down. Find a shady area of your yard that is okay to dig a little.  Let them dig a little cool spot. Chances are they will tend to this spot all summer long.

Laying a wet towel on the ground for your dog to lie on will help them cool off as well.  Better yet, lay a wet towel down in front of a fan. Your pup will not be able to resist.

You can also set up a small shallow kiddie pool in a shady area of your yard.  Dogs will love standing, laying and drinking in the pool or you might try setting up a sprinkler for your dog to lie under.  This will spray him with a gentle mist of refreshingly cool water.

Please stop by the shelter to check out our pets that are available for adoption.  We are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing for lunch from 12 to 12:30.  

Check us out on Facebook.  Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.