Everybody loves summertime! School’s out, vacations are in full swing, and backyard cookouts are everywhere. But along with the fun comes keeping a cool head, figuratively and literally.
When we forget to take a moment to prepare for those fun times – hiking, biking, swimming, and spending time outdoors with our pets – the results can be uncomfortable or even dangerous, especially here in the valley where summer temperatures can climb to highs in the 110+ range.
But don’t sweat it, we can help you and your pets stay cool in the summer heat.
Walk early in the morning or late in the evenings
The early morning hours and later on in the evenings after sunset are your best bet for safe pavement temperatures. Keep the five-second rule in mind. If the pavement is too hot for you to hold your hand on it for more than 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on it. The hot pavement can burn your dog’s sensitive pads. Walking on the grass is safer, but it’s still best to limit exercise to the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler.
Limit time spent outdoors
Beyond deyhdration and heat exhaustion issues, some breeds with white fur and lighter skin are more prone to sunburn, especially around the face and nose. Sunscreen isn’t just for people, ask your veterinarian for recommendations for appropriate sunscreen for your dog. When you are outdoors, always make sure your pet has plenty of shaded areas to play in. A kiddie pool with shallow water can also be a fun way to cool off, but pets should always be supervised around water.
Don’t leave pets in a parked car
Running errands during the summer? The safest, smartest thing to do is leave your pets at home.
Bringing your pets along for the ride simply isn’t safe, even if you’re planning to “just run into the store for a minute.” That “minute” often turns into five or ten minutes, which is more than enough time for the temperature in your car to rise to 130 degrees or higher, causing severe heatstroke, organ damage, or worse.
Please – leave your pets at home.
Always bring water
Even if you’re hiking in the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler, make sure you have enough water for you and your pets. Once the sun rises, temperatures climb rapidly and both people and pets can be overcome with heat before they realize it. Stop for hydration breaks often, and share that H2O with your pets.
What if there’s a power outage?
Great question. If your power goes out for more than a few hours, there are several pet-friendly places you can take your dog for relief from the heat. Most major pet stores allow you to bring your dog inside. A quick run to the store for a new toy or some snacks might be just enough time for the power company to restore power to your neighborhood. You could also check with family and friends who still have power, perhaps they can put you and your pets up until your power is restored and temperatures are safe enough to return home.