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Summer Safety Tips and Activity Ideas
The Texas summer is just around the corner, which means the heat wave is coming! In this blog, we will list a few reminders on how to keep your pets safe by keeping them cool while having fun in the sun. Also, feel free to refer back to our February blog: “Heat and Cold Weather Emergencies” for a refresher about the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses to be mindful of during these warmer months!
- Chances are if you are feeling thirsty while outside, your pet is too! Dehydration is a serious concern in the heat of summer. Providing your pet access to clean, fresh water both indoors and outdoors is essential. Set out extra water bowls so your pet will have plenty of options to access. Keep in mind that water in outdoor bowls could get hot quickly, so keep them in shaded areas and refresh them with cold water more frequently than you normally would during cooler months. **Sidenote: Be aware that our wild feathered friends may partake in drinking and bathing in your dog’s outdoor water bowls to keep cool. This could spread illness, so if you observe that, it is best to dump them and refill them with clean water!
- Pets need access to the shade while playing outside or having time in the yard. If you don’t have natural shade from trees, consider setting up a popup cover, umbrella, or mesh tarp to create shaded spaces for your pet to lounge under. Dogs don’t sweat like you and I do to cool their bodies down, and laying on hot concrete, decking, or even a plush dog bed out in the sun can lead to overheating. Providing an elevated dog bed in your outdoor space is a great way to give your pet a spot to rest while getting good air circulation underneath them to help stay cool. Also, feel free to set up an outdoor fan, or misting fan, safely that your pet can visit for a cool down session if needed.
- Not only is hot concrete capable of overheating your pet, but it can also burn their paws. Injured paws could have a long and painful road to recovery! Try to walk your dog in the early morning and late evening hours when the sun isn’t overhead, and the concrete isn’t as hot. If you and your dog prefer an afternoon jaunt, make sure to aim for shady trails and sidewalks that have immediate access to grass for your fur baby to walk in, and keep the length of the walk to a minimum. You may also want to consider putting some protective footwear on your dog for walks on pavement – with a quick internet search; you can find different options and determine what would work best for your pet. Here is a brief and informative article covering this issue!
- Do NOT leave pets inside a vehicle, no not even if you leave the windows cracked open. There have been cases of pets and infants dying after being left in cars on days where the external temperature was only 70 degrees. This is a serious situation. Be aware that “at 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees.” – Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University. Visit the following website for more information and video demonstrations regarding the rising of a vehicle’s internal temperature, and the effects on pets and humans.
Summer Activity Ideas:
- Buy a plastic kiddie pool for your dog to play in. The fun idea is to put floating treats in the water and watch them “bob for apples, carrots, etc.” Make sure this is supervised, so they don’t choke or get too excited and inhale water!
- Look up recipes for DIY dog popsicles and frozen yogurt treats, or to keep it simple, give them ice cubes, an unflavored snow cone, or frozen chicken broth in an ice cube tray instead. Here’s a link with a few recipe ideas to get you started!
- Set up a sprinkler in your yard and play fetch through it, or just do water hose play!
- Spend the day at the lake – swimming, paddleboarding, canoeing, etc.
- Set up a misting fan in the yard while your dog is spending time out there.
- Go hiking alongside a stream that your pup can take cool-down breaks in.
- Your pet may be spending extra time indoors to beat the heat, so buy different puzzle feeders and other stimulating toys for your pet to explore inside to mix things up!
- Fill kongs with mashed bananas, peanut butter, fruit and veggie chunks, or other tasty treats and pop it in the freezer for a refreshing snack!
Overall, it’s great for your pets to have outdoor play opportunities, but it’s best to limit direct sun exposure and length of time spent in the heat for them during the summer. Remember, quality over quantity! Get creative with enrichment activities that allow your pets to have fun in the sun while keeping them safe from the dangers of heat exposure. Have any summer activity ideas you want to share? Please tell us in the comments below!
Credit: Robin Laclede