The swimming pools are like bathwater, the surf report recorded the ocean temperature at 86 degrees last week. No one is going to disagree – this has been an oppressively hot summer, even for Florida.
Our bodies sweat. It’s our body’s way of cooling us off. We can also remove ourselves from the heat, get cool water to drink, crank up the air conditioning, and yes, sweat. Our dogs cannot do any of these things. They rely on us to keep them from overheating.
Dogs pant, they do not sweat, and panting does not cool them down effectively. Plus they are wearing those fur coats. Whoever said “It’s a dog’s life” was not talking about August in Florida.
To keep your dog comfortable, healthy, and to prevent heatstroke, there are things you can do:
1. Make sure your dog’s water bowl is filled with fresh, cool water. Generally I refresh the water in Odin’s and Crissa’s bowls three times a day, when they are fed. This summer I have been finding empty water bowls by midday, and they are inside with the air conditioning.
2. Keep your dogs inside. This is not good weather for them to be out. If they must be out, provide them a place that is shaded all day, and a good supply of clean, cool, fresh water.
3. Walk by 8 a.m. or after the sun goes down. It will be better for you, and better for your pup. The sidewalks and roads heat up during the day. If you are unsure, take the back of your hand and place it on the pavement, or stand in one place on the pavement in your bare feet. The pads of your dog’s paws are far more sensitive than your hand or feet.
4. Some dogs enjoy playing in the ocean or swimming pool. Do not allow them to drink the salt water in the ocean. A small baby pool may be a fun activity for your dog. Just make sure there is cool water in it.
5. Have them groomed, or brush them, regularly. Odin has been shedding excessively this summer. I try to brush him every couple of days, not only to keep down on the corgi tumble fur, but also to cut down on the fur he is carrying around.
6. Leave them at home when you go out. Please, if you love them, don’t leave them in the car, not even for a minute, not even with the window down. Not only is it against the law, it’s a crummy thing to do to a dog that loves you without reservation. For heaven’s sake be worthy of that devotion.
Hopefully we are on the down swing and cooler weather will be here in a few weeks. Until that time – stay cool.