Monday, June 13, 2011

HOT Dog - It's Summertime!!!

The dog days of summer have definitely arrived in central Texas and will be with us for some time to come. For that reason, there are some special precautions that we pet owners should take to make sure our pups stay healthy.

I'm a runner and one thing I find particularly difficult in the summer time is to keep up with my running. I have to get up really early to be able to complete even a short run. Even in the early mornings, the humidity can be exhausting and physically challenging. Things are no different for your dog. Walking/running with our dogs is one of the most rewarding parts of a human-Labrador relationship. It's perfect time to bond with our dogs and it's healthy for both of us. These simple tips should keep you and your pup logging the miles on even the hottest days.

1)Go early, go late. Pretty self explanatory. Try not to time your walks during the hottest part of the day. Get up early, watch the sun rise. Obviously, evening hours are good times for walks as well. If you go after sunset, make sure you and your pup are properly "lit up" with flashing collars or beacons that you can attach to your clothing so you are visible to passersby.

2)Bring along some water. There are many types of special water bottles designed especially for dogs that allow you to give your pup a drink along the way. Of course sharing your own water and providing you pet with a drink via a collapsible water bowl is also perfectly fine. The collapsible water bowls are lightweight and easy to carry or tuck away when you are finished using them.

3) Consider hiking in an area with water available for swimming. Lady Bird Lake, Red Bud Isle, and Lake Travis are all wonderful places for stroll with your pet. Not only is water plentiful for a frisky frolic, but shade trees are readily available too in areas with water. Be careful of allowing your pet to drink from stagnant streams or puddles of water. Your pup can pick up diseases such as leptospirosis or giardia from contaminated water. Your vet can tell if you a leptospirosis vaccine is a good idea for your dog. Always bring a fresh supply of water along with you to share with your pup.

4) Hose 'em down, Scotty!!! If a fresh water source in not readily available during your stroll, consider hosing your dog off prior to and after your walk to help their bodies stay cool. Luckily, you have chosen a Labrador retriever for your best friend. They shouldn't mind a little shower as long as you don't turn the hose on them full blast or squirt them right in the face. So, water your dog before you head out!!!

5) Don't leave your dog in the car. Certainly by now we've all heard the tragic stories of children who have died when left in a hot car. Once again, the same goes for your dog. A recent study showed that on a 100 degree day, temps inside a car reached a whopping 117 degrees. Even when temps were a milder 82 degrees outside, temperature readings inside a car still reached 109 degrees.

6) If it is all possible, keep your dog inside during the hottest parts of the day. Even with plenty of water and some shade, dogs can still suffer serious health issues if left outside all day. If your dog needs a break during the day, consider installing a doggie door or asking a friend or neighbor to stop by and let them out.

7) Age matters. If you have a very young or a senior Labrador you have to be even more careful. Keep in mind that their bodies have a tougher time regulating body temperature and are particularly susceptible to the heat. If your dog is panting heavily, head is lowered, tail tucked and has slowed his pace, chances are he may be suffering from heat exhaustion. Immediately stop your exercise, get your pet to a cool, shady spot, offer him water and submerge his body in lukewarm bath water, use a hose or allow him to swim. Get him into air conditioning and allow him to rest. Dogs can suffer heatstroke and the consequences can be lethal.

8) Go shopping!! Now more than ever there are special products on the market to help protect your dog from the effects of hot weather. Some of my favorite items to help keep your pup cool this summer include the following:

Doggles - Doggles will definitely keep your pup "hip" this summer. Made of a soft padded and flexible frame, Doggles offer adjustable chin and head straps and 100% UV protection. Think your pup won't wear them? Think again, you have a Lab. Check out the picture above and the pup on the Doggles Official website!!!

Doggy Cooling Vest - Ruffwear offers a doggy cooling vest that you fill with water. The vest's unique design allows the exchange of heat from your dog's body with the cooling effects of water that is carried inside the vest. The Swamp Cooler will definitely help your dog "weather" even the hottest days!!

Doggy Sunscreen - Even dogs need to be protected from the sun. Especially our lighter pigmented "Dudley" Labs. Check out this product that will protect your dog from sunburn.

We live in central Texas, and although our summers are hot, there are way too many fun things to do to stay inside all summer. Follow the tips above, and you and your dog will have a healthy and active summer filled with tons of fun!!!

76 comments:

  1. Great article. Just want to add that even at the end of the day when the sun is down, the pavement can still be very hot for our four legged friends. Burned paw pads are no fun ( I see client dogs with toasted toes every year), so do the barefoot test, take off your shoe and see if you can comfortably keep your foot on the cement. If not, neither can your dog - and the sidewalk stays surprisingly warm for a very long time, even when the sun is down.

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  13. Hose 'em down, Scotty!!! If a fresh water source in not readily available during your stroll, consider hosing your dog off prior to and after your walk to help their bodies stay cool. Luckily, you have chosen a Labrador retriever for your best friend. They shouldn't mind a little shower as long as you don't turn the hose on them full blast or squirt them right in the face. So, water your dog before you head out!!!
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  14. If it is all possible, keep your dog inside during the hottest parts of the day. Even with plenty of water and some shade, dogs can still suffer serious health issues if left outside all day. If your dog needs a break during the day, consider installing a doggie door or asking a friend or neighbor to stop by and let them out.
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  17. Consider hiking in an area with water available for swimming. Lady Bird Lake, Red Bud Isle, and Lake Travis are all wonderful places for stroll with your pet. Not only is water plentiful for a frisky frolic, but shade trees are readily available too in areas with water. Be careful of allowing your pet to drink from stagnant streams or puddles of water
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  18. Go early, go late. Pretty self explanatory. Try not to time your walks during the hottest part of the day. Get up early, watch the sun rise. Obviously, evening hours are good times for walks as well. If you go after sunset, make sure you and your pup are properly "lit up" with flashing collars or beacons that you can attach to your clothing so you are visible to passersby.
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  21. Bring along some water. There are many types of special water bottles designed especially for dogs that allow you to give your pup a drink along the way. Of course sharing your own water and providing you pet with a drink via a collapsible water bowl is also perfectly fine. The collapsible water bowls are lightweight and easy to carry or tuck away when you are finished using them.
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