HOT WEATHER TIPS FOR THE ‘DOG DAYS OF SUMMER’
Have we approached the 'Dog Days of Summer,' yet? Because it sure does feel like it! I often get questions from owners regarding their pets' safety during the incredibly hot months. You might be asking yourself the same question. How hot is too hot for your furry friend?
Well, this can depend on a lot of things. Dogs that are older, obese, or breeds with shorter snouts (Frenchies, pugs, Boston terriers, etc.) do not tolerate the heat and humidity, as well as other breeds. Though around 80F degrees can feel nice to us Wisconsinites, it can be detrimental to your dog's health. Not only is it important to remember that leaving the dog in the car is incredibly unsafe, but even walking in this weather for too long can be life-threatening. Here are some fun tips on how to stay safe and cool during the hot summer months and how I practice these tips on my daily walks with your pets!
TIPS FOR STAYING COOL AND PROTECTING YOUR PUP
Hot feet - Oh No!
When walking your dog in the heat, use the seven-second rule when determining if the pavement or concrete is too hot for walking. If you cannot hold your hand on the concrete for 7 seconds, your pets should not be walking in this weather. When the air temp. When it is 85F, the concrete can rise to over 100F and asphalt to almost 130F! Avoid burning your pups' pads by avoiding days hotter than 85F degrees. However, if you must walk your dog, protect their paws by walking in the grass, and applying Musher's Secret (not only for cold weather!) to protect those precious paws.
Cooling Bandanas & Chilly Pads
Every day I bring a cooler filled with cooling bandanas and a chilly pad in my car. Cooling bandanas help to regulate body temperature and lower heart rate in the heat, as well as Chilly Pads. Before each walk, I tie a cooling bandana to my furry friends' necks for their comfort. After each walk, I make a quick stop at the cooler to wrap them in the chilly pad, if I feel they are too hot.
Hydration, hydration, hydration! On every walk, I carry a collapsible pet bowl and filtered water in a reusable water bottle to allow pets water breaks on incredibly hot days. These items are essential during the summer months! I also carry towels in my car - for muddy days, but also to soak with water and wrap a pet with if overheating occurs.
Pet First Aid Training & Signs of Heatstroke
As a pet-care provider, I thought it would be essential to become certified in Pet First Aid Training and Pet CPR. As an owner, I believe this is important as well. My car is fully equipped with a Pet First Aid Kit, and I'm ready to recognize the signs of overheating in your pet. Check for excessive panting, high body temperature, stumbling or unordinary walking patterns, lethargy, vomiting, racing heartbeat, excessive drooling, gum discoloration in a dogs' mouth, and in severe cases seizures. If you notice any of these signs, make sure to wrap your pet in a wet towel and transport them immediately to the vet for further care.
Shady walks and grass trots
As stated before, the pavement can reach incredibly high temperatures, damaging the feet of your poor pups. Try walking in the grass and finding routes that have more shaded areas to stop and cool down.
Avoid the ‘hottest’ hours
Though your schedule and your pups' routine may call for a "middle-of-the-day" potty break, however, it is hottest outside *typically* between 10 AM, to 3 PM. If you can avoid walking during these hours, your pets will thank you later. Schedule early morning let-outs or late afternoons to ensure your pet is comfortable and not overheating under all that fur!
Shorter walks for longer life-spans
If you can't adjust your schedule, make sure to walk your pup for a shorter time. Even 20 minutes in intense heat can be detrimental to your dog's health. Though lots of different breeds require more exercise, a 15-minute potty and play may be more beneficial during summer.
LISTEN TO YOUR PET!
Your pet is talking to you! Maybe not directly, but make sure to read your pet's body language. If they are pulling back to the house, lying in the shade for an extended time, panting excessively, or even refusing to walk, they are trying to tell you they're uncomfortable. As fun as it is to enjoy the sunshine with your furry friend, their health and safety are more important- your adventures should wait until a cooler day :)
3. Inclement weather policy
As I learn more and take on this business venture, I've been adjusting my service agreement to serve each owner and animal to the best of my abilities. Every one of my furry friends is important to me, and their health, safety, and well-being are more important to me and my business than anything else. My inclement weather policy is as follows:
Inclement Weather Policy
In the best interest of both your dog and myself, I reserve the right to shorten the length of walks or potty breaks outdoors and continue the rest of our selected visit time playing indoors, depending on high/low temperatures, heavy rain, and storms, or high winds. If your pet is displaying signs of discomfort, agitation, or overheating, Pet Sitting MKE may return to your home and spend the rest of the allocated time inside to ensure your pet's safety. In the summer, Pet Sitting MKE will provide the equipment mentioned above, to ensure your pets' comfort during walks.
If you have any questions about how to keep your pets safe during the summer months, or how I might be able to assist your pup during this time better, please do not hesitate to reach out.