The Star-Herald

Keeping a cool dog

As I write this on Monday, the forecast for today is for 92 degrees. Granted, that is somewhat unusual, especially in northern Maine, but some of us love it, some of us not so much.   

For many the high humidity and the muggy days are unbearable.  Even the nights are warm and the air is heavy for trying to get a restful night’s sleep.  We all realize that we need to take care of not only ourselves in the hot weather, but the four-legged family members as well.   Those hot, lazy summer days are perfect for lounging around with our canine pets, but heatstroke, however, is a very real danger.  

These suggestions are common sense, but bear repeating. Pet Friendly Canada shares these tips for keeping your pet happy during the summer.

You should always provide a cool, shady spot and fresh water when your pet is outside.  Please do not tie your pet outside for long periods of time without proper protection.  

Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car.  I can’t stress this enough.  Even if the windows are cracked and you’re parked in the shade, the temperature in a car can rise very quickly and cause heatstroke and can even be fatal.  It is better to leave your dog at home where it can be comfortable, or use a doggy daycare or pet-sitter.  It’s best not to take the risk, even if you think you’ll be gone only a short time. 

Don’t overdo the exercise, as it can be dangerous on a hot day.  If you are planning to hike with your dog, go early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.  Always bring fresh water for both you and your dog. It’s very important to stay hydrated.

Watch the paws. Avoid hot asphalt and sand, which can be painful on your pet’s paws.

Swimming can help you dog stay cool.  You can also help him to cool off by wetting him down. 

If your dog doesn’t tolerate heat very well or you don’t have air conditioning, try freezing bottles or bags of water.  Wrap these frozen bottles or bags inside a layer of towels or place them underneath your bog’s bedding and invite him to lie on or against it.

Always provide access to cool, fresh water.

And please contact your veterinarian immediately for advice if you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke.  Symptoms can include a bright red tongue, rapid panting (sometimes accompanied by thick saliva), overly red or pale gums, vomiting, weakness, dizziness and unresponsiveness. 

  Enjoy the summer by keeping you and your pet safe.

We have many special companions at the Central Aroostook Humane Society. Check out our Facebook page or call for an appointment to stop by at 24 Cross Street, Presque Isle.  

Please be responsible: spay/neuter your pets.

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

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