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July 2024

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Help Your Pets Beat the Heat this Summer

Summertime brings lots of outdoor activities and fun for our pets and us. But with the summer comes the heat, and for our dogs and cats, this can be uncomfortable, and also poses risks, the same as for us. They can easily become overheated on these intense days.

Dogs sweat through their feet, and cool themselves through panting. Plan your activities with them in the cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening. Avoid walking dogs on hot asphalt or concrete between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. A dog’s pads can become burnt very easily, and it can go unnoticed because they often don’t let us know there is an issue. Check your dog’s feet regularly—especially if you are out and about with them. Even gravel and dirt surfaces can become dangerously hot, so do the 10-second test: place your hand or bare foot on the ground and do a slow count to ten. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.

Be sure outside dogs have plenty of shade and fresh cool water available at all times. Some dogs enjoy a soak, and a plastic kiddie pool can provide some added relief on these scorching days. Another useful tool to help regulate their body temperature is using cooling mats, which are designed to help release body heat and keep the belly cool. These are excellent for both dogs and cats. There are many brands available online. Some are made with high-tech cooling fabrics, and don’t have toxic gels or even need to be wetted down, which makes them a great choice for the home or vehicle. Cooling vests and collars or gaiters are also good options. If you need to provide immediate relief, dampen a towel with cold water and place it on the floor. This will cool the dog’s belly and help it stay comfortable. You might also consider a personal evaporative air cooler, which are inexpensive and are great in small areas indoors.

Learn the signs of canine heat exhaustion and heat stroke—both are serious conditions and if left untreated can cause long-term effects on the organs, or potentially be fatal. Watch for rapid panting, lethargy, sunken eyes, dehydration, drooling, dizziness, and if the nose feels hot and dry instead of cool and damp. The saliva may be sticky and gums an abnormal color. The dog may have difficulty urinating, and stool may be loose. There are other symptoms also, so take some time to become familiar with those. If you suspect either, use COOL (not COLD) water and wet down the pet. Place them in front of a fan, and call your veterinarian for further advice.

If you’d like a free recipe sheet with yummy frozen summer treats both you and your dog can enjoy, stop by the High Desert Hounds Pupcake Sale at Cid’s on July 6, from noon to 4 p.m.

High Desert Hounds at (469) 644-8323, or HighDesertHoundsTaos@gmail.com or through our website a