By Bonnie Mason, Dog Lover and Volunteer – with information provided by Denise Fleck, Sunny-dog ink
Dog-Walkers: Walk your dog on grass. Sand, metal, concrete (including patios) and asphalt pavements will be Hot! Feel the ground. If it’s
hot to a three-second touch or too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If you must walk your dog on sand or pavement, go in the early morning or wait until late in the day, when the ground and pavement have cooled to the touch. Take along drinking water for your dog.
If your dog is limping or refusing to walk, missing part of a pad, licking or chewing at his feet or if pads look darker than usual or contain blisters or redness, it’s evident your dog has burned pads. Get the dog to a grassy area or indoors quickly. Flush your pooch’s paws with cool (not cold) water. Keep him off pavement or sand until he shows improvement. Seek medical attention if you think your dog may have deeper burns.
Water: Provide your pet with constant cool, fresh water all day, every day. If the water dish is outside, be sure it is in constant dense shade, especially in the afternoon. A dish of water in direct sun can become hot quickly and stay hot, which is too hot for your dog to drink. If need be, move the dish as the sun moves. Swimming pool water is not meant for drinking.
Food: Placing your dog’s outside food dish in a water bath will keep the ants out, but not the flies and dirt. Better to not leave food outside.
Shelter from Heat and Sun: Best to keep your dog inside your air-conditioned house on hot days. If your dog must be outside: provide a densely shaded grassy area, a raised dog bed on a covered porch or a raised, well-ventilated dog house placed in the shade. Run fans or install misters to help keep your dog cool.
Cars: If you take your dog with you, park so that your dog is in the shade and keep the engine running and the a/c turned on. If it’s too hot for your kids to wait in a parked car, it’s not safe for your dog; even fatal. And, it’s against the law.
Grooming: Your dog’s fur helps protect it against heatstroke and sunburn. Do not shave your dog’s back and around its eyes. Cut or trim the fur instead, but not too short. Brush daily to help thick-coated dogs with shedding.
Exercise: Play with your dog during the cooler parts of the day and on grass to prevent heat stroke and injury.