It’s that time of year, folks. Here in beautiful Colorado, we seem to be entering actual spring, as opposed to fake spring, where we will have 70 degree days interspersed with blizzard conditions. Today, as I was walking, I saw a thermostat reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Welcome to hiking, boating, biking, jogging, camping *insert your warm weather activity here* season. Coloradans will be hitting the outdoors in droves, because that’s what we do here in Colorado.
As a pet professional, warm weather comes with an entirely different set of thoughts for me, and I thought now would be a great time to give some warm weather do’s and don’ts for dog owners.
Leave your dog in a car. Studies show that when it’s 80 degrees out, it can reach 99 degrees in a car in 10 minutes. TEN MINUTES, folks. Imagine you’re covered in fur, can only sweat through your feet and tongue, and you’re sitting in a closed environment at a toasty 99 degrees. Dogs can suffer life threatening, severe heat stroke in as little as 20 minutes. Studies also show that leaving windows down has minimal effect on reducing temperature in car. Save your dog’s life, and your own heartbreak, and don’t leave your dog in the car. More information on this can be found at: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/help-dog-in-hot-car.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
Travel with water and drinking containers when it’s warm outside. Really, any time you travel with a pet, having water for that pet and something for him or her to drink out of is a good idea, but this is doubly true in warm weather. Dogs use their tongues to help stay cool, and become dehydrated quickly in the heat. Water can also be used to rapidly cool an overheated dog. When in doubt, bring water.
Walk your dog mid-day in high heat. Temperatures on walking surfaces can exceed 145 degrees Fahrenheit in summer weather. Put your bare hand on whatever surface you expect your dog to walk on. If you’re uncomfortable after 10 seconds or so, chances are that walking your dog on that surface could result in burns on their paw pads. Stay off of sand, cement, and asphalt as much as possible, and consider buying boots for your dog if walking on these surfaces is something you plan on doing. If you suspect your dog may have heat injuries, seek veterinary care right away.
Give your pup cool treats (such as ice cubes) to play with in the heat of the day. Make sure they have shelter out of the heat, particularly mid-day. If you have an active pup, try freezing treats and stuffed kongs in a large mixing bowl filled with water and sticking it in a shady spot outside for them to work on. Your dog will get three fold benefits: cooling, hydration, and mental stimulation. If you’re going to be out and about in the heat, spraying your pooch with cool water and soaking their fur at intervals will help keep them comfortable.
There are tons of other things you can do to be weather wise and beat the heat this spring and summer, but I hope this list gives you a good head start!