This week, Canine Camp Getaway hiking instructor Bob Dealy is guest blogging for us with some tips for surviving the ‘Dog Days of Summer.’
Coming back from a terrific vacation at Canine Camp Getaway of NY and dealing with the heat wave that has gripped most of the nation over the past few weeks has given me paws/pause for thought. We are now in the Dog Days of Summer. We want to put on minimal clothing, get out and enjoy the warm temperatures. In other words, it’s go time, people!
Our dogs, on the other hand, want to take a refrain from the Eagles hit of the seventies and “Take it Easy.”
It doesn’t matter if you live in Winslow, Arizona or Bangor, Maine: It’s warm outside. Our furry friends need extra consideration. This rings especially true when you decide to pick up and go with your best friend.
I was reminded of this as Shadow and I were traveling back from Lake George, NY. I had a travel harness on her and she was being her usual awesome travel companion self. But something wasn’t quite right. She was a bit fidgety and didn’t seem entirely comfortable.
Even though the AC was blasting and it was quite cool, almost cold, in the vehicle, it took me a while to figure out that the sun was coming through the window right on her. So she was hot. Black dogs absorb heat more readily than light-colored dogs, making them especially sensitive to the beating sun.
At the first rest stop, we got out of the car. As we got back in the car, she decided the best place for her to curl up was on the floor with her blanket. I wanted her buckled in for safety. She told me the safest place for her was out of the sun. I’m thinking driving safety; Shadow’s thinking self-preservation.
Fortunately, I listened to what my dog was telling me. We shared a roast beef sandwich that she gave rave reviews to as road food, and the rest of the trip went well. She even got back on to the seat and gladly accepted being buckled in as the sun dipped a little lower in the sky.
The moral to the story is to enjoy the warm weather for all it’s worth but pay attention to what your dog is telling you. Try not to put your dog into a hot car. Run the AC to cool things down before putting your dog in. If your car seats get hot, use a towel or a blanket to cover the seat. If you use a harness, be sure the hot metal seatbelt buckle isn’t pressed against your dog, as this can cause painful burns. And never, EVER leave your dog alone in a parked car when it’s hot out – even with the windows open, even for five minutes.
Listen to your dog. (Of course if your dog decides he wants the bag of Cheez Doodles you brought along for a snack, then you have my dog, and you don’t have to listen to that!)
One last thought: while it goes without saying, I’ll mention it anyway: Try to exercise your dog early or late in the day. If he or she seems lethargic or starts panting heavily, you might want to cut the walk or exercise short. I’m told humans take a week to 10 days’ adjustment period for their bodies to acclimate to suddenly hot or cold temperatures. During this period of adjustment, it’s recommended to scale back the intensity when working out. The same can be said for our dogs.
Time to fire up the BBQ for a July 4th feast. Shadow says have a hot dog for her!
Enjoy your summer!