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3 {Paw}esome Tips for Beating the Summer Heat

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This article originally appeared in Southern Paws and Tails Magazine.

dog beating the summer heat on a boat

The dog days of summer are HERE, so it’s time for a reminder about your role in helping every member of your household beat the heat.

Stop sweating it and try out these wag-tastic tips for keeping your furry loved ones cool!

Keep ‘em Hydrated

Dogs and cats don’t have sweat glands in the same way that people do, which is why a lot of their body temperature regulation is done through panting. When your pet is panting heavily, it is in danger of becoming dehydrated.

Because you’re the one with opposable thumbs, it falls on you to keep your fur-babies’ water bowls full. Adding ice to the bowl helps to cool things down and can keep your pet entertained.

Another way to help your pets beat the heat is by installing a doggy door to allow them to go freely between the outdoors for fun in the sun and quenching their thirst at the lake’s edge.

Be cautious, however, since some bodies of water can contain microorganisms that can be bad for your pet’s health.

Take a Swim

Taking a swim with your pet in your favorite lake will bring down body temperature in a hurry.

But before you dive in, make sure your pet is prepared. Don’t assume every dog knows how to swim instinctively; particularly those with big chests and tiny legs. Certain builds and breeds can struggle in the water and might require an animal life vest to enjoy the lake. Stay close initially until you’re sure your pet is a natural swimmer.

Also, think about how they will get into and out of the water. Access is often achieved by simply jumping from your home’s deck or dock into the lake, so you should make sure your structures are free of protruding nails and screws that could injure your pets when they jump.

Access to an exit from the water is very important. If your dock lacks stairs, you may want to add a ramp to the nearby shore.

And be sure to check the water level to make sure it is deep enough for your pets to jump into the water safely. Submerged hazards are just as dangerous for Fido as they are for you.

Provide Some Shade

Providing shade for your pet in the warmest parts of the day is important for beating the summer heat.

Shade trees are an instinctive choice for many pets who need to cool down. But if your lake home is short on natural shade, you can create a fur-friendly corner of your shaded deck by setting up a small fan, a water bowl and a cool mat or wet towel to lie on.

You can set up a similarly shady spot away from the house with a big beach or market umbrella to produce artificial shade.

Pets are important members of the family. Following these simple tips can keep them healthy and let them enjoy the lake as much as their human companions.

For more on keeping your pet safe at the lake, check out these great stories: “Protecting Your Pets: Animal Safety While Showing Your Home” and “Pet Travel: How to Prepare Your Pet for a Trip to the Lake“.


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