The heat is on....
Since summer is fast approaching, and I have spent most of my life living in hotter climates (California and Hawaii) I thought I woulhare some tricks to keeping canines cool when they need to be with you in a vhicle during a hot day.
1. Dip your dog before you leave. Instead of going to the dog park and then doing errands, I switch my schedule in the late spring and through the summer to include a dip for my dog in the local creek. Letting him swim around for a half an hour or more cools his body core temperature and allowing for a more comfortable day for him.
2. Park under deep shade. Just because the dog is sitting in the shade inside the car only means the sun is not directly on him but it is on the hot metal roof of the car, even in milder temperatures of mid seventies the inside temps of your car can climb to over 100 degrees in less than 15 minutes. making sure you park under a tree or by the side of a building can help keep temps cool ing car while you do your errands. Make sure you account for sun movement. If you hold your hand horizontal just under the sun and extend three fingers, the width of those fingers is where the sun will be in 15 minutes. That is alot of movement in a short period of time and if you dont account for the movement of the sun even parking in deep shade can mean in 15 minutes your car is back in the sun. So check on your dog every 10 minutes and move the vehicle if you need to.
3. Provide water. I have a plastic kitty litter container I place in whatever car I am in, - it getrs turned upside down and ususally fits between the back and the front seat, I place a no spill water bowl on top of that. The lip of the bottom of the kitty litter container keeps the bowl in place, allowing my dog to have access to water whenever he needs it.
4. Bring a couple of ugly but thick comforters. This may seem a crazy thing to do but after liing in Hawaii where everything is dictated by the sun, a comforter draped over the top of your car, covering the windshield and the metal roof can cut down on the heat tremendously. I tuck the ends under the wipers and into the doors, keeping window open halfway to allow for whatever breeze to circulate through the car. This makes it nice for you and your dog, especially when you get back and dont have to play hot potato with the broiling steering wheel.
5. Whenever the temps are above 88 degrees I leave my pup at home. I will take him to the dog park in the morning, to allow for legs to stretch out and to get some running in. Then we lay low for most of the day, I wait til about 7pm on very very hot days. before taking him to the park for hours of twilight fun.
6. Use an ice pack. Dont use blue ice unless you know for sure your dog wont bite through. Use crushed ice in a plastic bag on a towel. They can be used to keep a dog cool if you have to have your pet with you.
7. ASK. Often if you ask if you can park your vehicle in a deep shade place even though it is private property or you feel it is just too dangerous to leave your pet in the car while you have lunch or do errands or whatever the situation is, ask to allow your dog to be with you. Make sure he is empty before going into a business to keep accidents to a minimum and thank the establishment when you leave. I have done this a dozen times a year. My dog is well behaved and either sits by my side or under a table nearby while I conduct my business. I have had restaurants open their patio for us to use and my pup just sits under the table in the shade. I usually buy something if it is a store and leave a good tip if it is a restaurant.
8. Sand at the beach and the back of the pickup truck (the metal bed) are scorching hot. I have seen dogs pads burned from being at both places. If you have a pickup truck, get a liner, if you cant afford a liner, get some old carpet to protect your dogs paws from the hot metal. When at the beach find shade. I have seen dogs dancing to try and keep their paws from burning on the hot sand. bring your dog a beach towel too.
Brining extra water and towels can help alot. Bring extra drinking water or better yet a gallon or two of drinking water and some beach towels. IF you find a nice place to dip your dog having a towel on hand to dry off your dog and to put on the seat will help keep everyone happy. If your dog gets muddy you can rinse with drinking water if you have it on hand. I wash my pup down after he has been in the salt water with the drinking container I bought at REI and keep filled.
lets keep our animals safe this summmer.