Summer Play: Keeping Your Dog Cool and Safe

When the summer heat is reaching into triple digits, we humans are happy to sit in the air conditioning inside the house. If your dog is used to going outside for playtime and exercise, he or she won’t understand the words, “It’s too hot!” Your dog can still enjoy the outdoor playtime, but it will be up to you to see that he is kept cool and safe.

Adjust Your Schedule

We are all weather watchers in the summer. We know when it is going to be extremely hot outside. Adjust your playtime and exercise time with your dog to the cooler parts of the day. Early morning is a good time to enjoy the outdoors with your pet, as well as later in the evening.

In the mornings, there will be some dew on the grass, so be prepared for your dog to have to be towel dried when you go inside. My Shih Tzu’s love early morning playtime. They romp and roll in the wet grass and have a great time. It is very cooling and refreshing for them.

Keep Them Well Groomed

You might wonder what that has to do with cool and safe outdoor playtime. Long tangled hair and a thick matted undercoat will create hotspots. The undercoat and even the long hair actually help to insulate the dog from the sun and heat.

Dog’s cool down by panting, and it really has nothing to do with how long their hair is, but the hair needs to be well groomed to for its job. I brush my dogs morning and night, to make sure that the loose undercoat does not get tangled in with the top coat.

Cooling Games that Dogs Enjoy

Limit your play areas to shady spots in your yard. Short haired dogs especially should be kept in the shade. They can be easily sunburned, and yes, even dogs can get skin cancer. Be cautious with your long haired dog too, as they will also sunburn. Stay in the shade and always take a bowl of fresh cold water with you. If you don’t mind a wet dog, here are some games my dogs enjoy:

1. Water Slide Catch: Buy a cheap Slip and Slide that attaches to your hose. You can choose to use it with the water spurting up the sides are you can turn it on and wet the slide down and turn it back off. Toss a ball, or whatever other toy your dog likes to fetch down the slide and encourage her to go fetch it. Sure, you and the dog will both get wet, but you’ll both have fun! The dog will even slurp at the water when he needs a drink. That will help keep him hydrated.

2. Find the Ice: This is a great game to play while you relax in a chair with a cold drink. Take a small cooler of ice outside with you. My dogs love to find the ice that I throw here and there. They enjoy the hunt, plus they enjoy chomping on it. Sometimes they will watch it melt and have a very quizzical look on their face as they try to figure out where it went.

The point is, that just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean the dog should be kept in the house. They won’t like it, and neither will you because they will become anxious with pent up energy. Just take the proper precautions to avoid direct sunlight and limit your play to shorter periods of time.

This guest post is by Donna Thacker.  Donna loves to share information about her two passions pets and motorcycles, Thacker also displays her knowledge of natural remedies for pets, people and home. Ms Thacker also writes fiction, and has won several writing awards. You can find more of her articles on the Y!CN.

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