Summer is upon us! It came early in our neck of the woods and with a vengeance… triple digits weighing heavy on everyone.
There are some simple precautions we all need to take to protect our pets. While some of this information can apply to other animals also- cats, bunnies, horses, etc. – I refer to dogs since they are out and about with their owners regularly.
Traveling with your dog is fun! In summer however leaving Fido in the car while you do errands is not an option. The temperature in a closed vehicle, even if the windows are cracked, can reach dangerous levels in no time flat. Here is a table illustrating this:
Outside Temp 10 min. 30 min.
70 degrees F 89 104
75 94 109
80 99 114
85 104 119
90 109 124
95 114 129
Downright scary, eh. I was personally stunned to see those figures. Please, do not leave your dog in a vehicle! Unless you can take your dog inside with you its better he remains safely at home.
Exercise, working livestock, and other outdoor activities in summer involve adjustment, too. Try to do these in the cooler parts of the day, like morning or evening. On especially hot days it’s best to just lay low and keep as cool as possible. Remember… your dog wears a fur coat he can’t take off! That being said, some folks shave their dogs coat short in summer.
While it isn’t always possible to herd your stock at a different time of the day, make sure to provide a shady spot for your dogs to cool off, give them frequent breaks, plenty of water, and watch them carefully for signs of heat stress/stroke.
Normally, a dog’s body temperature is somewhere between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly higher than for humans. A dog will start to experience heatstroke at over 105 degrees. At around 106 to 108 degrees, organ damage can occur. Always keep a rectal thermometer handy for your dog and check his temperature if you suspect heatstroke.
According to Dogs Naturally blog, here are some other signs to be on the lookout for:
Dry gums that are pale or grayish
Bright or dark red tongue or gums
Rapid or erratic pulse
Visit http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/can-my-dog-get-heat-stroke/ to read what you can do if your dog does have heatstroke.
Feet are not usually thought about as needing any extra consideration in summer. However, concrete and especially asphalt get blistering hot! The rule of thumb goes that if the surface is too hot to hold the back of your hand on it for any longer than a few seconds, it is much too hot for your dog’s sensitive paws. There can be serious injury if this is not heeded.
There are dog boots available to protect your dog’s paws in summer and winter as well.
Water needs normally increase in the heat of summer. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. This is a given at any time of year, but an especial necessity in warm temperatures. A pool of some sort is often appreciated by the water-loving dog, to splash in or lay belly down in to cool off!
Shade is mandatory when a dog spends time outside. The deep shade of large trees or even your house is wonderful because the soil remains cool. A dog will often scratch up a little depression as a comfortable cool resting spot!
Pests are a particular blight in summer for our pets, too- fleas, ticks, mosquitos to name a few. We utilize pure essential oils to effectively repel the above mentioned. The oils we like are geranium, lemongrass, citronella, lavender, cedarwood, to name a few. They smell wonderful and are non-toxic to you and your pets! Just add to a spray bottle of distilled water and spritz on before going outside, taking care to avoid the eyes.
So you see it doesn’t take much to protect our dogs in summer. Just a little thought and small adjustments to enjoy a safe and pleasant summer!