As a dog-owner, you know that having your canine companion in your life is a great joy, but that it also comes with many responsibilities, not the least of which is to ensure both the physical and mental wellbeing of your dog. After all, they are relying on you for food, water, healthcare, and exercise, just to name a few of the things a dog needs to be healthy and happy. In order to ensure that your dog is both healthy and happy, you will want to look after their basic needs in a careful way; they can’t, after all, always communicate what they’re feeling and thinking at the moment. It takes vigilance! With summer here, keeping your dog cool and hydrated is chief among your dog’s seasonal needs.
1. Be Aware of Humidity
Humidity sucks. It takes what would otherwise be a pleasantly warm day and makes it oppressively so, forcing you indoors and your air conditioning on just to keep the air fresh and moving. Your natural cooling systems in your body help you fight against humidity, but your dog is not quite so fortunate. Your dog pants to evaporate the moisture in their lungs, thereby taking heat away from the body, but when humidity is particularly high, they have a hard time cooling themselves – leading to very dangerously high body temperatures. If your dog’s temperature ever goes over 104 degrees, you’ve got a problem!
2. Not Every Day is the Day to Exercise
Exercise is important not just for you, but for your dog. Dogs are, after all, active and energetic creatures that need to be engaged both physically and mentally, lest they fall into depression, lethargy, and unhealthy behaviors. Yet during the summer, it can often be far to hot to actually get the exercise they need – at least, during the day. Try to avoid exercising your dog for very long on hotter days; you may even try getting out to exercise with your dog early in the morning or late in the evening when the hottest hours of the day have passed.
3. Provide Plenty of Shade and Water
Your pet should always be able to retreat to the shade and enjoy some cool water, especially when they are outside. This allows them to take refuge from the sun and from the heat and cool off for a time before returning to their activities out in the yard. When inside, make sure that you have similarly shady areas for your dog to retreat to, as fans and other low-maintenance, and low-cost, ways of cooling don’t work very well for dogs. Indeed, only shade or, otherwise, air conditioning are the best ways to cool your dog inside.
4. Watch for Heatstroke
Finally, because dogs have a harder time dealing with hot weather than we do, you should make sure that your dog is protected against heatstroke and that, should such a condition strike your dog, that you are familiar with the signs of the illness as well as how to treat it. Heatstroke is entirely avoidable, but sometimes accidents happen, and it is important that you get to your dog before it is too late and they suffer illness and even death. No worries; it’s easy to spot and easy to treat, and if you follow all of the advice on this list, you won’t even have to do deal with it!
+Neil Kilgore loves the summer and spending it with his dog. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.