A friend and I recently brought our Basset Hounds to a 4th of July parade where a local Basset rescue participates every year in the parade. There were over 100 of the short, floppy eared irresistible pooches. Some on leashes, some on floats, some on wagons… some even sporting costumes! It was a howl to see that many hounds waddle down the street!
The weather however turned out to be much warmer than anticipated. Instead of the usual coastal 70’s with a cool breeze, we were hit with 90 plus degree weather! Halfway down the parade route most of our dogs flopped down in the middle of the road in a shaded grove. Needless to say the parade stopped for about 10 minutes!
As I’m sure you’ve all read in our many postings about taking care of your skin and protecting yourself from sun exposure and heat; our pets, namely dogs and cats, don’t have the capability to cool off by sweating. If you take your pet out for a family event make sure you bring food and water. Bring an umbrella or choose a shaded area. When dogs and cats need to cool off they pant. The hotter they get the faster they pant. Providing shade and cool water for them to drink can help alleviate the stress and danger of overheating.
Of course NEVER leave your pet unattended inside a parked car during summer heat. Cars can quickly turn into saunas. Even in mild weather a car with it’s windows up, or even slightly cracked can heat well above 90 degrees or more and your pet can get heat exhaustion, heat stroke or worse within minutes!
During our summer heat waves make sure you and your pet drink plenty of water. Limit your sun exposure. A dip in the pool, fountains, or sprinklers will all help to release some of that body heat. If you decide to let your dog swim with you keep in mind not all dogs do well in water. Never leave your dog unattended near a pool, pond or lake. Remember to put your sunscreen on at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 90 minutes. Dogs with lighter colored coats or pale pink skin need sun protection too! Noses, bellies and inside the ears are particularly vulnerable. Contact your local veterinarian or pet store for suggestions on what types of sunscreens are safe for your pet.