As summer heats up we need to re-evaluate what type of environment our dog needs in the heat. Many of us leave our pets outside during the day so here are some simple tips to making your backyard summer safe…
Provide plenty of drinking water:
Sounds simple but sometimes we forget to check the bowl. Sometimes we have a dog that likes to tip the bowl. It happens, but we must be diligent. For dogs who like to tip over the bowl, there are a few options. A “Lix-it” is a spigot that basically turns your faucet into an on demand tap much like a rabbit water bottle. Or sometimes just using something extra large will do the trick such as a 5-gallon bucket or kiddie pool. Just be sure to freshen the water often.
Again this seems simple enough. However, shade moves along with the sun. Be sure that there is shade at all times of the day. This is particularly important if your dog is kept in an outdoor dog run. Many times there is a period of the day where the shade from the fence/house /garage is not landing in the kennel. A piece of shade cloth secured to the top of the kennel can usually solve this issue. Shade cloth can also be used to create a shady area in the yard.
Know your dog and breed:
Some breeds are extra sensitive to the heat. Mainly those with smashed noses. Many dogs also have medical conditions that make them more sensitive. If this is the case, sometimes we need to provide an indoor air conditioned area for them. A dog door into a small space like a laundry room can be used but sometimes dogs cannot be trusted inside alone. A dog door that leads directly into a crate secured to the door or wall can be a good solution.
Add some cool fun:
While not really a necessity these ideas can add a bit of interest to your dog’s day.
- Misters on the porch on a timer, say every hour the mister comes on for 15 minutes. Creates a cool spot for him to lay and chances are he will figure out the timer.
- Kong is a fantastic toy. Fill it with wet food and a bit of peanut butter, freeze overnight. This gives a cool treat for him to gnaw on throughout the day.
- An ice block with treats inside. Using a plastic or silicone bowl put in a couple inches of water and add some kibble or biscuits, they will float but that’s OK. Stick in the freezer. When frozen add another layer of water. You can layer as many times as you wish. I usually make a few of these at a time. Pop it out of the bowl and leave it in the yard with your dog. As it melts treats will become available. I avoid frozen toys as I do not want my dog destroying them to get them out of the ice block.
- Kiddie pools can be fun too as long as your dog does not chew them up. Put his favorite toys inside to encourage him to get inside.On a final note, it is much safer to leave your dog home than have him in the car. Temperatures can rise to unsafe levels in just a few minutes even with the windows cracked. If you do not want to sit in the car without the A/C neither does your dog.