The Harrisburg area is under an excessive heat warning, and temperatures are breaking 100 degrees. Most people try to stay inside as much as possible, but if you have a dog, you know that you'll have to brave the heat at least two to three times a day. Here at SSD, we're in our last day of summer camp, and although we're trying to keep the campers and dogs in the air conditioning as much as possible, sometimes we just have to be outside.
Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe in the heat:
Give your dog lots of water. When you go outside, always make sure that your dog has access to cool, clean water. Your dog can quickly get dehydrated in this heat, and they'll need lots of water.
Avoid the hottest part of the day. Try not to be outside between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is the hottest part of the day, and your dog's risk of heat-related illness or injury increases. Your dog may still need plenty of exercise, but try to take those walks in the early morning or in the evening. Also, take shorter walks and bring water with you so your dog doesn't get overheated. (And don't forget to take some water for yourself!)
Stay in the shade. When you take your dog outside or for a walk, look for a nice, shady route. Avoid walking on asphalt, which can get extremely hot and burn your dog's paws. Always test the street or sidewalk before starting on your walk. If it's too hot for you to walk in your bare feet, then it's too hot for your dog to walk on it in his bare paws. If you must walk on asphalt, consider getting booties for your dog to protect his paws.
Don't leave your dog in the car. We cannot say this enough. Don't leave your dog alone in a parked vehicle. The inside of the car can get hotter than an oven in a matter of minutes, and your dog could have a heat stroke and could even die. In the hot summer months, it's better to leave your dog at home than to bring them along as you run errands, no matter how short you think it will be.
Be careful while swimming. Swimming can be a great way to cool off in the heat. Many of our dogs in training love the water. Just make sure to always keep an eye on your dog while he's swimming, no matter how good of a swimmer he is. After swimming, rinse your dog with cool, clean water to get rid of the chlorine or salt. Dogs can get sick if they ingest these chemicals.
Try some frozen treats. There's nothing better than an ice cream cone on a hot summer day! Your dog may enjoy some frozen treats, too. While dogs can eat ice cream (except chocolate!), it can upset their stomachs. If you're going to give dogs ice cream or other frozen treats, don't overdo it. The simplest thing to do is to just give your dog some ice cubes. Many of our dogs in training love ice, and some even play with the ice cube before eating it!
Here are a few recipes we've found, if you'd like to make some frozen treats for your dog:
While you're busy making sure your pet is safe in the heat, don't forget about yourself! Drink lots of water, take a refreshing dip in the pool, stick to the shade, or relax in the air conditioning during the hottest part of the day.
We hope you and your pets have a safe and fun summer!
Susquehanna Service Dogs raises, trains, and places service dogs to assist individuals with disabilities. We train service, hearing, balance and companion dogs to support men, women, and children to be more independent.