Don't let the calendar date fool you... just because we are out of August does not mean the Earth's thermostat is magically, instantaneously turned down. In fact, where I live, the temps are temporarily hovering at 105... believe it or not, this is a cooling trend for us Phoenicians who have endured a sweltering Dog Days of August average of 109 degrees. Uncomfortable is an understatement, for 2-leggeds and 4-leggeds alike. (And don't even TRY telling us "it's a dry heat" or I'll let my petite pup Happy lick your toes until you scream for mercy!!!).
The rules for keeping your four leggeds safe from the heat are still in full force. I cover many of them in my book "Top Dog's Top Tips for Tip Top Dog Care: What Your Best Friend Wants You To Know". But because time is of the essence, I'm going to share my top 3:
- Watch the clock! Provide exercise during the coolest times of the day: early morning or late evening. Limit sun exposure altogether during the mid-day hours, and never leave your dog tied up in the sun or in any area without protective shade.
- Keep plenty of cool, fresh water available at all times. use of metal bowls outside is a big "no no" as they cause water to heat up, potentially scalding your unsuspecting dog's mouth and tonge. Ice cube filled bowls placed in shaded areas of your yard will provide a refreshing source of water for hours at a time.
- Refrain from having your dog stand on, or walk across, parking lot blacktops. Cute as it looks, that's not a talented tap dancing canine you'll see; its a pooch in pain from scalded paw pads. Use protective cream or booties to reduce the potential for injury.
The bottom line? Use common sense... if you're not comfortable, neither is your best friend!