Is your dog outside? He’s hot. Its July. It’s hot outside. He has fur. He is hot. If you MUST have your dog outside in this heat (especially if your dog is not accustomed to the heat), please provide the following:
- DEEP shade. Not 3 inches of shade that he can reach. Deep shade is shade that actually provides some kind of relief from the heat. It’s usually several feet wide and long, and it never shifts out of reach of the dog.
- COOL WATER. Cool water needs to be kept in deep shade…or it just becomes hot water. Have you ever had heat stroke? I have. Several times. It is painful and scary and life threatening. Hot water does exactly nothing to help prevent that situation. Dehydration and heat stroke are not synonymous. Dehydration is frequently a cause of heat stroke, but you can get heat stroke even when you’re adequately hydrated.
- LOTS of water. I usually insist that a dog should be able to lay down in their water bowl outside. For dogs who enjoy doing so, consider also providing a small pool entirely for lounging as well as a deep bucket in the shade to drink.
- VENTILATION. Do not confine your dog to a space which has no breeze. Imagine you’re sitting in a cardboard box. A large cardboard box, in the sun. Do you imagine this is comfortable? Of course not. While an insulated dog house is great, a good breeze is often much better. Give your dog options.
- RELIEF. Make sure that your dog is not in these conditions any longer than absolutely necessary. Many dogs are accustomed to being outdoors in the heat. Puppies, old dogs, and brachycephalic (short nosed breeds: bulldogs, boxers, pugs, pibbles) dogs are not. Ever. Don’t leave them in this heat. You can kill them rather quickly.
Remember that dogs’ paw pads can burn easily on hot surfaces. If it is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for your dog. Dog boots are an excellent solution for dogs about town who need protection.
If you see a dog in heat distress, DO SOMETHING. Maybe his owners didn’t know he slipped out the door or went outside with the kids. Knock on the door. Turn on a hose. Do something. You could save a life.