Tips for Dealing With the Summer Heatwave

SCIENCE_BEHIND_POSITIVE_FeaturedYou can have hot fun in the summertime with your pets, but if the heat is on, your pets may potentially be in danger.

In general, dogs aren’t able to deal with the heat as well as people, that’s mostly because for all intents and purposes they don’t perspire – they pant, Darker colored dogs have a tougher time of time, and so do larger dogs.

Here are seven tips for keeping your pets safe in summer:

Dogs Die in Hot Cars: Instances of dogs becoming ill and sometimes dying as a result of literally roasting in hot cars are avoidable. According to the AAA Chicago Motor Club, if it’s 85 degrees outdoors, even when the windows are open a crack, the dashboard can heat up to 170 degrees in less than 15 minutes.

In many states, counties and cities, it’s actually against the law to keep a pet shut inside a hot car, so the law may be on the side of the good Samaritan. Calling the police may be an option. In some places this law (like many animal cruelty laws) is more enforced than in others. Certainly, if the car is parked at a store – if more than a few minutes passes, simply fetching the owner can save a dog’s life.

Exercise: Some dogs play fetch, and simply know when enough is enough; they stop. Others will fetch forever because they want to please us. It’s your job as an adult to step and say, ‘enough, the game is over.’ This is why an adult in the household needs to be aware of the pets’ activities. If the dogs appear too hot, they probably are.”

For dogs who are out in the yard for any extended period of time – which is not the best idea in the first place – shade and water are necessary.

If you run with your dog – even a short distance – best bet is an early morning jog or hit the track after sunset when the temperatures aren’t as hot and the sun isn’t shining. Be sure to bring water for your dog (and for you).

Splash This: Life preservers for dogs are a good idea, if you’re on a boat. Just as they save human lives, they may do the same for even good canine swimmers. While many dogs might know how to jump into a pool for a few laps, the problem is getting out of the pool. Also, never allow Pugs, Pekingese and other swimming impaired dogs near a pool without adult supervision. It’s rare for them to enthusiastically jump in (Labrador style), but they can fall into the pool – and get into trouble very fast.

Cats in Trees:  Where’s Sheriff Andy Taylor when you need him? In most places, phone the local sheriff or fire department to fetch a cat up a tree, you’ll only hear a bemused operator ask, “You’ve gotta be kidding?” If you manage to convince emergency personnel to respond, you’ll likely be charged a fee.

Be patient. Veterinary clinics rarely report treating cats who have fallen from trees. Emergency rooms, however, do treat people who have fallen trying to rescue feline friends. Entice kitty with a can of tuna left at lower branches or at the base of the tree; walk away and wait for hunger to overcome fear.

Skunks: Step #1: Get a clothespin – that’s for your nose. Step #2: Scrub your pooch in a solution of one quart hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda and one teaspoon liquid dish soap. Step #3: Rinse. Step #4: Scrub the pet again – this time with a solution of half tomato juice and half water as needed. Step #5: Rinse. Step #6: Go to the movies while the odor subsides. Or go back to Step #2 and purchase an over-the-counter products available to help fight skunk stench.

Asphalt: Hot asphalt can literally scorch dog paws.

Rodenticides: Pets who have eaten rodent poison may emit a sour gassy smell, and have sudden muscle tremors or bleeding from the nose or stool. See your veterinarian immediately. It’s very helpful to know exactly what kind of rodenticide your dog has ingested.

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Positively Expert: Steve Dale

Steve is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant, has written several books, hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows, and has appeared on numerous TV shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "National Geographic Explorer," and "Pets Part of the Family." Steve’s blog is


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