Pet Safety in the Heat
Growing up in Spain, I never had any “real” pets, except for a few goldfish and a tiny turtle I named Pepi, because we traveled a lot, and, I’ll be honest, my mom has never been much of a pet lover! So when I first met Carlos, and he already had a pet, a beautiful Golden Retriever named Shakespeare, that was a big change for me. A couple of years into our marriage, we decided to get a gorgeous Rottweiler we named Garbo. Oh, how I loved Garbo – she made me feel so safe! But after Shakespeare passed on, and Garbo passed just a few months later of sadness, I stated we would never have a pet again. Hah! That lasted about 4 years…when Carlos and the kids begged for a dog and promised to walk, bathe, feed, clean-up poo and take care of them and I wouldn’t have to lift a finger…yeah, right!
So, we visited the shelter and, there he was Clyde – who we renamed Winston. If you’ve ever gone through a shelter adoption it’s a bit of a grueling process. You find “the one” if he hasn’t been claimed you put in for his adoption, but then you have to wait, a week, to make sure the original owner doesn’t come back to claim him. Every day the kids would ask if someone had claimed him and every day I would say not yet but to be ready for disappointment. And then he was ours! And guess what, we did it a second time! Welcome, Dante to the Espinosa household – because one pet wasn’t enough!
Living in Miami, and in other warm places, the heat can be rough on the family and that includes our four-legged friends. These weather hazard times are hard on our pets and we need to be sure to help them survive the heat.
Here are a few ways to help your pets.
On hot days it is essential to try and walk earlier in the morning. Temperature and sun exposure are lower at that time. Dogs can become overheated so the signs to watch for are excess panting and drooling. Later at night, it may also be cooler. Beware of blacktop driveways and roads. They heat up and hold that temp which could hurt the dog’s paws.
Hydration is essential for the whole family including your pets. Keep a cold clean bowl of water for the dog in the house. Add ice to their water as a bit of play and a treat. Be sure if you are out that you bring water and a bowl for the pup. Make sure you offer the dog water.
A lot of dogs are fans of water and love to swim. You can purchase a dog pool (yes, they do exist) or a small kiddie pool for the dog to play. Some of the dogs will even be willing to join you in the larger pools. There is fun to be had by the lake or ponds if they have swimming skills. Be careful with how much water the dog gulps. Dogs can get water intoxication. This is very dangerous. Dogs also love to dig in a sandbox which is often cooler. Let them play there and then lay down in the sand. Cleaning sand off a dog is easier than dirt or mud. Happy digging in the sand to them!
Frozen treats are a real thing for your pups. Simple ice cubes can be a treat, but you can also jazz up the ice with pureed strawberries, blueberries, pears, or melons. See which flavors they prefer and check with the vet to be on the safe side for your breed. There are also some other frozen treats for purchase at your local pet store.
Remember if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for them!