Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Sultry summertime is in full swing. The forecast is for consistent 90 degree days for the next week here in Denver. As you apply your sunscreen and head out for some fun take a few minutes to assess how you'll care for your sweet dog that's going along on the adventure.

A dog's temperature can be considered normal in the range of 100 to 102.5 degrees. Temperatures above that range are leading into dangerous territory. Dogs don't sweat so helping your pet stay cool is important.

Suggestions for keeping your canine cool:

1. Shade – a 90 degree day can feel very different if you're spending it in the shade instead of the sun. Make sure the shade doesn't change to sunny as the sun moves toward the west.
2. Ice cubes in the water dish – Everyone likes an ice cold drink of water. Your dogs do as well, plus it will be very fun to watch him try to get the cubes in his mouth. Or, if you’re planning a hike, freeze an extra water bottle for "Lucky".
3. Kiddie pool – fill a hard sided kiddie pool with water and let your big dogs frolic. Of course the little ones may have a hard time getting in and out so you'll need a size appropriate pool. Change the water once a day to keep it clean.
4. Get out the hose – some dogs go nuts when you turn on the hose, snapping and barking at the stream of water, it's pretty fun to watch. Just be sure to get out of the way of the spray when it's time to shake.
5. AM or PM – plan your active play or walks for the cooler parts of the day. Early morning and evening are much better times for engaging "Lucky" in a game of Frisbee or taking him on a long walk. Plus it's easier on his paws – the pavement and gravel gets very hot. And avoid places like the dog park between noon and 4 pm when the temperatures are high.

Know the Signs of Overheating:

    Symptoms your pet is overheated include:

        * Excessive panting
        * Difficulty breathing
        * Elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees)
        * Increased heart rate and respiration
        * Drooling
        * Weakness or collapse
        * Seizures
        * Diarrhea and vomiting

If you have an older pet, one that is overweight or obese, an animal with a heart or lung condition, or a dog or cat with a flat face, the very best thing you can do during hot summer days is keep your pet inside in the air conditioning, with plenty of cool, fresh water to drink

The moral of the story...if you're feeling hot, hot, hot, so is your dog, so get him cooled down.

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