Hot enough for ya? That is a phrase that sends angry ripples down my spine — always has. As for Henrietta, the Diva Poodle, the phrase “dog days of summer,” does the same for her. That phrase makes it sound like summer is going to be one heyday of fun-filled activity after another, when in fact those “dog days” typically mean hot, hazy and humid weather — not good for your pets.
What does the “dog days” phrase really mean? Do you know it has nothing to do with your four legged furry friends? I found this explanation on phrase: “…It comes from the Dog Star, Sirius, which is part of the constellation Canis Major. Each summer between July and August the constellation appears in the northern hemisphere during what is usually the hottest time of the summer. ” Whatever the meaning, in the hot, hazy, humid summer days in upstate New York are not fun for humans or pets.
If you’re a pet parent you understand that it is critical to note your pet’s behavior during the hot weather to make sure they aren’t starting to suffer from overheating. Remember, that your pets can only cool themselves by panting; even though settling yourself in front of a fan may cool you off, it will not have the same effect on your pet.
I’ve done a bit of Internet research and came across many sites that provided pet safety tips and here they are for your review:
- I shouldn’t have to reiterate this point, but I will. Do NOT EVER leave your pet in a car. It should go without saying that you shouldn’t leave them in a HOT or a COLD car, but people still seem to think they are doing their pet a favor by bringing them along for a trip to the grocery store; hint, you’re not. Leave him home! Even on a “coolish” day, the interior of your car could quickly heat up to temperatures that can negatively impact your pet’s health. If you are on a cross country road trip with your pet you will need to consider what you will do with him when you need to take a restroom break. My advice: take your pet in with you. If you don’t have a portable pet like I do, then you need to have made plans in advance for what you will do with your pet.
- Why not just leave him in the car in a shaded area while you run in for a quick restroom break? Well, what happens if during your quick trip, someone — just as quickly — breaks into your car and steals your beloved pet? Was your quick trip worth it then? I would think not.
- Believe me, I know that Henrietta is incredible and amazing and of course you want to meet her, BUT not at a fair, festival, public market, etc. She doesn’t enjoy crowds and I don’t let her delicate foot pads come in contact with hot pavement. If you want to see my lovely pet, I will whip out my smartphone and show you some of the dozens of pictures I have of her. She doesn’t enjoy festivals and I’ll just bet your pet doesn’t either. Pet parents who bring their pets to these type events are doing it merely to show off, not because their pet was home begging, “ohhhhh take me with you!” Not likely.
- I don’t love the beach, therefore the Hen does not love the be
ach. While I am not certain that she wouldn’t love the beach, I do know that it’s not a great place to take a pet. Why? Remember how hot the sand is on your feet? Imagine what that feels like for your pet. Do you like sunburn? Neither does your pet and if you’re going to subject her to a day under the sun, you should take the time to apply vet-approved sunscreen to her. According to petMD light-colored and short-haired dogs are prone to sunburn just as their humans are. If you truly have no place to leave your pet while you spend a day at the beach, you need to find a shady spot for him to lie down or you need t
o take an umbrella and make a shady area.
- Henrietta has been on limited activity for a few weeks because of a neck injury, but even if she hadn’t been we certainly wouldn’t have been outside dashing around in the heat and humidity. We take our daily walks early in the morning or later in the evening when the temps are cooler. You know that your pet will chase a stick until he collapses, don’t let it come to that. Because our pets are so eager to please they will run around with no thought of their own safety, you need to keep them safe from heatstroke and dehydration. There are also specific pet breeds, brachycephalic — those with flat-shaped faces — Pugs, Persian cats or Pekingese that have a hard time cooling themsel
ves off by panting because of their cute, smushed-in faces, because of this additional precautions need to be taken to keep these breeds cool.
- A few weeks ago there was a “warning” going around Facebook about never giving your dog ice water because it can lead to bloat. This was proven to be incorrect, however bloat is a very real issue that can impact your pet. This usually happens when a dog has been without water and once he gets it he drinks far too much. The solution? Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. If you’re taking him for a walk bring along a small bowl and a bottle of water and stop frequently to offer him drinks.
- I try to always walk Henrietta in areas that I am familiar wit
h. However, when I traveled across the country with her there were a lot of times when I had to take her out to do her business and I wasn’t certain what was on the grass we were using — because of that I wiped her paws and belly down every time she got done just to make sure she hadn’t walked in any pesticides or other non-pet-friendly item on unfamiliar territory.
There is a great post on BlogPaws on 15 pet safety tips for pet parents. Do all you can to keep your pets safe during the dog days of summer.