Saturday, July 29, 2006

Heat Warning! Keep your canines cool!

Yup, the National Weather Service issued a genuine "heat warning" for our area today. And get this: it's for the next five days!

Yuk, yuk, and double yuk!

So here are some tips for keeping your canines cool and hydrated during heat waves:

1. Provide plenty of fresh water to drink.

2. If outdoors, make sure they have shade, and lots of of it. We have few trees, so we use a table umbrella for the dogs to rest beneath as well as a picnic table that sits under a shade-providing tarp.

3. Use ice cubes for treats. Our dogs
love them, and consumed ice is consumed water (you're keeping your canine companions hydrated). In this photo, Elsie, Baxter, and Ridge await their frozen treats!

4. Provide a rigid, plastic, kiddie pool ($4.99 at Walmart) or sprinkler or other source of fresh cold water for them to cool off in.

5. Invest in a cooling mat or bed for you dogs. Many on-line retailers and discounters carry Canine Cooler products.

6. Keep your dog indoors in air conditioning. Dog houses baking in the sun can quickly overheat and dehydrate their residents. Baxter, Elsie, and Ridge love it indoors; they rarely venture outdoors in extreme heat. I suspect it's because we have a cool, brick floor on which they can rest.

7. NEVER, EVER leave your dog in the car on a sunny, hot day, even for a quick errand. Temperatures can reach the mid-100s in only five minutes.

8. Don't work your dogs hard on hot days. The Labrador is one of many working breeds; they're designed to retrieve for hunters. But even hiking with your dog or walking with him for long distances on hotter-than-usual days can result in heat exhaustion. Leave your running or walking companion behind on the hottest days. Better yet, if you're planning to exercise, do it VERY early in the morning or in late evening, and take it slow. Then you can enjoy your pet's company safely. Even better yet. Don't exercise in extreme heat. You'll protect you and your pet.

9. Let them swim or wade as you have opportunity!

10. But protect your Labs from over-playing. They'll run and retrieve and swim until they drop. They trust you and look to you for training, guidance, and protection. Yes, let them swim and play, but don't let them overdo.

Especially in the heat.

'Til next time,

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