Keeping dogs properly hydrated is the key to maintaining their good health- especially during the hot summer months.
Charlestown, RI (PRWEB) August 06, 2013
Royal Flush Havanese recognizes that summer is an ideal time for dogs to be outside enjoying the weather; however, extreme temperatures and overexposure to the sun can be detrimental to any dog’s health. Following some simple guidelines during the hot days of the year will keep both pet owners and their companions happy and healthy throughout the “dog days” of summer.
Fresh water is the single most important resource a pet and his owner can have! Drinking water for any dog should be kept at room temperature or slightly cooler. Keeping dogs properly hydrated is the key to maintaining their good health - especially during the hot summer months. If a dog will not drink from his bowl very often, get creative! There are many different recipes for dog treats that will hydrate while providing entertainment. Ice pops made with frozen chicken or beef broth are one of most simple and tasty options! These also work well to help cool off an already hot dog. Outdoor showers, hoses, or even sprinklers can be used to keep a dog cool as well and provide playtime. When running cold water on a dog, Royal Flush Havanese suggests pouring the water over the dogs’ paws first, working up to his back and head. If a dog does not like the feel of water, cloths can be dampened with cool water and placed on a dog’s fur, specifically in areas such as the neck, armpits, and on the pads of his feet.
One of the most common and potentially catastrophic mistakes a dog owner can make is leaving his dog in the car during a hot day. Even if it is just for a few minutes, and regardless of whether the windows are left down, a car can heat up just like the inside of an oven. If the outside temperature is 85°, the inside of a car can heat up to 120° in only 30 minutes! If a trip in warm weather will involve leaving a dog in the car, it is far better to leave him home in a cool place.
Another danger in hot weather for dogs is heatstroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include panting, drooling, vomiting, dark red tongue with pale gums, disorientation and lethargy. Dogs with short noses and those that are very old or very young are most susceptible. If a dog is exposed to especially warm conditions, it is very important to be vigilant and check for any of these symptoms. If he is showing signs of stress due to heat, call a local veterinarian and try to keep the dog cool by employing the methods described above. However, never use ice or ice water as this can make the heat stroke worse.
There are several other simple preventative measures dog owners can take to keep their pets cool and protected from the sun throughout the summer. Dogs with darker coloring absorb more heat than dogs of a lighter color, and may be less tolerant to sun exposure. Longhaired dogs can also retain more heat within their coat. Giving long-haired dogs a summer ‘haircut’ will help keep them cool. An ideal trim will leave a dog’s coat length no shorter than one inch, as anything under this length can result in sunburn.
Finally, always try to walk dogs during the cooler parts of the day, such as after sunset and early morning when air and surface temperatures are lower. Beyond quickly capturing and radiating heat, sand and pavement can burn the paw pads of any dog. While doggie boots are available specifically to guard against burns, walks during cooler parts of the day are a better alternative, as well as allowing the dog to walk on grass.
Despite all the potential dangers posed by heat – especially in the summer, the warm weather is a perfect opportunity for all dog owners to get outdoors and spend quality time with their canine companions. Activities such as swimming are a smart way to combine exercise with keeping cool in the heat, as well as providing a fulfilling bonding experience between dogs and their owners. Understanding and knowing how to minimize the risks summer heat poses to dogs allows for a happy and rewarding summer for all.
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