Sunday, September 3, 2017

Summer Heat Wave - Keeping your pups cool

3 Hot, Sleepy Dogs - heat will make your dogs more lethargic than usual.

We are having a prolonged heat wave here in Southern California and many people who live near the coast do not have central AC.  Imagine having a fur coat and dealing with this heat.  Here are a few tips to keep your pets a little more comfortable in this heat:

1)  Walk your pets in the early morning or after the sun goes down.  Not only is it cooler but the pavement won't burn the pads of their feet.  My last post reviewed how to test the pavement to make sure it is safe for your dogs.   Avoid hiking during a heat wave so that you do not expose your dog to the risk of heat exhaustion.

Walk your pet in the early AM or evening to keep them cool and protect their paws.

2)  Evaporative Cooling - I will wet down the fur between the shoulder blades and back of the neck to help cool down my dog via evaporative cooling.  If you set up a fan, dogs will sleep in front of the fan to enhance this effect.

3)  Freeze a partially filled water bottle - wrap it up in a towel and place it near your dog.  Often they will sleep against it or use it as a pillow.  Senior dogs may not be able to tolerate the heat as well as younger dogs.

Kiku is sleeping against a frozen water bottle wrapped with a towel.

4)  Raised loungers - raised bed or loungers can help with air circulation.  And, many dogs like sleeping on them when it is hot.  The lounger in the picture below is from Doggie Loungers.

5) Hydration - it goes without saying that you want to make sure your pet is well-hydrated.  Keep extra bowls of water out if you are going to be out of the house for long periods of time.

Do you have any other tips you would like to share.  Post them below.  Happy Training!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hot Weather Tips - Have You Done the Barefoot Test?

On hot summer days I often see people walking their dogs on the sidewalk and asphalt in the middle of the day.   I often cringe when I see this because the pavement can heat up significantly and because we humans wear shoes, we often don't realize how hot the pavement is.  


I often have to work with clients using my dog, Kiku, as a decoy dog and I will not schedule sessions in the middle of the day because I fear the sidewalk and black asphalt will burn her pads.  

I will often do what I call the barefoot test and put my barefoot on the asphalt to test out how hot it is. This last weekend the temperature in my neighborhood reached 88 degrees F.  I did the barefoot test on my street and I could hold my foot on the pavement for only a few seconds because it was so hot.

At 88 degrees my foot started burning after a few seconds.

Avoid Peak Heat Hours - avoid peak hours by walking your dog early in the morning and in evening.  Even then you may want to do the barefoot test because the sidewalk may still retain heat from earlier in the day.  This test applies to all hard surfaces  cement, asphalt and gravel.

Watch for signs that your dog is under distress:  limping, licking feet, whimpering, walking gingerly, trying to get to the grass, lying down in the shade.

Puppy foot pads are more delicate - if you have a puppy, their feet are more delicate because the pads have not yet developed tough callouses.  Be extra careful during the period when your puppy is in this phase.  

Check your dogs pads for cracks, blisters, bleeding or burns.  If you find any injuries, wash the wound with soap and water and take your dog to the vet for further treatment.  

Check all hard surfaces including gravel.  Here is a hot Kiku trying to get some shade

So this summer be mindful of your dog overheating and burning those cute doggy feet.