Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer! For many of us, this time of year means the dreaded walk from our air conditioned buildings to our cars. The parking lot looks more like Death Valley with the heat rippling across the pavement, and then you reach your car and have a blast of hot air escape as you open the door. I leave the door open for a few moments before actually sitting down, as to let more of the heat escape! The car air conditioner has to work double time to make it tolerable. Why do we call the weeks between July and September the Dog Days of Summer? The answer lies in the stars. Simply, it is both because of constellations (Canis Major and Canis Minor,) and this is when Sirius, the dog star, rises and sets with the sun.
Did you know that there are nearly seventy-eight (78) MILLION dogs owned in the US? They are the third most popular pet behind birds and cats, in that order.
We at Craighead County Sheriff’s Office want you and your pets to be safe this summer. So we have gathered some of our favorite tips to beat the heat.
- NEVER leave your pet in the car. Even at 73* external temperature, it only takes 10 minutes to heat up to 100* and 120* in 30 minutes. At 90* outside, the heating time is much faster and higher, 160* in several minutes.
- Know which breeds are less tolerant to heat. Remember that older and obese dogs are going to have a harder time cooling themselves than younger and heartier breeds. According to petfinder.com, pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers, boxers, shih tzu, and French bulldogs are less tolerant.
- Don’t walk your dogs on hot pavement, and don’t walk them when it’s excessively hot; the pads of their feet can get burned. If it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for their feet.
- Make sure your pooches have plenty of water and shade. Dogs can suffer heat exhaustion and heat stroke quickly, so make sure they have access to cool water throughout the day. Grassy surfaces in the shade will see a temperature difference of 5-15 degrees lower than direct sun, and shaded hardscaped areas have a 35-55 degree difference versus direct sun.
- There are some who turn off their air conditioners when they leave the house. This is potentially dangerous to your dogs. Instead, turn the temperature to a higher temperature, such as 78*. Closing the blinds and curtains also helps conserve electricity when cooling your home.
- Pooch pops, pup-sicles, Frosty Paws…regardless if they are homemade or commercially sold, frozen dog treats are a great way to cool down a hot dog. Dogs can have some fruits (bananas, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, & watermelon.) They can also have fruit juices such as apple, pineapple, and orange juice. Some of the recipes include using yogurt. The “sticks” have become rather inventive, as well, using asparagus, carrots, raw hide, and even chicken feet for the stick.
- The start of summer is a great time to take your dog for a full vet checkup, including heartworm test. Just as important, make sure your pet is protected against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Summer months are when your pet will be more exposed to the inherent dangers of these parasites, and as a pet parent, you need to give them the best chance at fighting them off as you can.
For more great tips, visit https://www.petfinder.com
Thank you for letting us serve and protect you, the citizens of Craighead County!