It’s a fact: owning a dog can make you happier and healthier. In addition to love and companionship, studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress and bring happiness to their owners.
Plus, a Swedish study of more 3.4 million people over 12 years found that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease than non-dog owners.
From lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to increased activity and socialization, dogs really are our best friends!
To take the best care of your precious pup in the hot summer months, Feeling Groovy asked pet care expert Dan Spangler of A Dog’s Dream pet boutique and resort for some tips to keep our canine companions cool this summer.
Give them plenty of water … and ice!
Dogs, like humans, need plenty of water during the hot summer months. Here are some ways to help your pup stay hydrated, and help them cool down, too.
- Keep their water bowls full with fresh water and add some ice cubes. (You like a cool drink and so do they!) Dogs use their tongues to cool themselves, so adding ice can help that process.
- You can give your dog frozen fruit juice treats (just make sure they’re 100 percent fruit) or make your own popsicles with water and a bit of chicken broth for extra flavor.
- Freeze their favorite toy in a bowl of water. They’ll have fun trying to get to their toy and keep cool licking away.
When you’re out and about, be sure to take an extra water bottle for your dog, and a collapsible water bowl if you’re so inclined.
Protect their paws
The pads on a dog’s paws are sensitive and they can be burned on hot pavement like sidewalks, parking lots and patios. Bricks, pavers, and even sand and gravel get blazing hot in the sun.
To test how hot the pavement is, and whether it’s too hot for your pet, put the back of your band on the pavement. If you can’t leave it there for more than a few seconds, then the pavement could harm your dogs paws.
If your dog will be spending a lot of time outside on paved surfaces, here are a few solutions:
- Set up an umbrella to keep an area of pavement cool enough for your pet.
- Lay down some wet towels or a cotton rug for a cooler spot.
- Invest in dog booties. At first your pup might fuss, but once he gets used to them, he’ll love them!
If their paws do get cut or burned, be sure to clean the pads well and use a pad lotion to keep them hydrated.
Protect them from harmful UV rays
Did you know, dogs can get sunburned too?!? Typical areas they get burned are on the top of their snout, nose and ears. Light colored and short-haired dogs can also get burned on their back or belly depending on how they lay.
If you’re heading out to a day at the beach, a long walk, or any extended time outside, be sure to apply sunscreen to your pooch.
Pick up a sunscreen or sunblock specially formulated for pets at your favorite pet retailer or vet’s office. Use only as directed on the label. Don’t use any other kind of sunscreen on your pet without your veterinarian’s approval. Never apply tanning lotions or oils, or any product with zinc oxide or PABA, as these are toxic to dogs.
Help them stay cool
Always make sure that you dog has a shady spot in the yard, whether it’s under a tree, in a dog house, or under an umbrella or shade awning. Here are some other canine-cooling tricks:
- Pick up an inexpensive kiddie pool to help your pup stay cool. Make sure your pet can easily get in and out of the pool, and that the water isn’t too deep for smaller dogs to stay or lay in it.
- Put a shop fan on your patio to keep your dog cool all day.
- Buy a few freezable dog toys—kind of like freezing a teething ring for a baby. These made-to-be-frozen toys are another way to keep Fido cool.
And, if there are days that it’s too hot for you outside, it’s too hot for your dog. Let her chill out inside with you.