Summertime is full of fun, freedom and hot dogs, and we don’t mean the kind you get at the ballpark. Although an exact number is difficult to find it is estimated that thousands of dogs die every year from heat related causes. A little information and common sense can save lives.
Your dogs average body temperature ranges between 100 to 102.5 degrees. We have sweat glands all over our body which help to keep us cool, our dogs have very small sweat glands only on the bottom of their feet and on their noses. Try walking around in a wetsuit and a fur coat on a 100-plus degree day and it may give you some insight on how your dog feels. Oh, by the way don’t forget to be barefoot.
Panting is the primary heat releaser for your dogs body. If the air temperature is higher than their body temperature they can’t cool down.
Watch the feet. If you’re taking your dog out, be sure to put your bare foot or hand on the surface that they’ll be walking on and hold it there for five seconds. If you can’t do it, they can’t walk on it.
Some summer exercise alternatives
Creativity is the word when we think about how to get our dogs enough mental and physical stimulation during these hot summer months. Here is one idea that may be of some help for you and your pups.
Swimming is a great and super fun way to get your dog plenty of exercise in the summer. Some dogs will naturally swim but are not fans of the old “toss your dog in the water and they’ll figure it out” adage. One of the best ways to teach dogs to swim is to take them to a nearby lake where they can walk in and slowly get used to the water. Play in the shallow water with their favorite toy and slowly take them to deeper water, when they can get chest deep and are still enjoying it, gently put your arms around their body and ease them in a little deeper where their feet can’t touch the bottom. Slowly take your arms away and have them swim back to the shallower area. Let them get comfortable at their own pace. If you’re teaching them in a pool use the steps to ease your dog in. If your dog is going to have access to a pool when no one is home, be sure they know how to swim, and more importantly how to get out.
If your dog is too scared to swim or is too small to reach the steps, but they’ll still have access to a pool unattended, we recommend a “Skamper Ramp.” It’s a great piece of safety equipment for any home with a dog and a pool.
• Ahwatukee Foothills residents Brad and Jade Jaffe founded Team Canine in 1999, using non-violent training and modern day psychology to train dogs. Visit their website at www.teamcanine.com for more information. Contact them at (602) 954-8353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.