Friday, July 6, 2012

It's 100 Degrees in the Shade!

It's been so hot here lately, I haven't felt like doing anything.  Mom says it's been 100+ degrees.  I don't know what that means.  I just know it's hot!  Thankfully, I am an inside dog (most of the time) so I can relax inside where it's cool.  I've spent the last few weeks just laying on my bed or sometimes out on the porch when Mom is trying to keep the garden from getting all dry and brown.  But Mom decided yesterday that I had been lazy enough and so we went for a walk.  That's when we saw the others - two dogs that had been left outside in the heat.  These dogs had been abandoned when their owners moved out of the house we passed.  They were just left there with no food or water.  I'm sure they probably caught a squirrel or rabbit or bird to eat.  But Mom says all the time there is no water out here.  That's why we keep bird baths and saucers of water outside when the summers are extra hot. 

These dogs were left behind and were in pretty bad shape.  I know most of my friends wouldn't do that to their four-legged family members.  But just the walk got me hot enough that Mom carried me part of the way back home.  I didn't realize just how fast a dog can get into trouble from the heat.  And so I decided I needed to remind everyone that extreme heat can be dangerous to the fur babies!  Every year dogs tragically die in hot vehicles or end up at the vet with sunburn or heatstroke.  Please don't let your dog be one of them.

Here are some tips for helping your dog survive the summer heat:

1.  Don't leave your dog in the car.  You know I go almost everywhere Mom goes.  But not now.  It's just too hot.  Mom said that on 100 degree days, her car can reach 120 degrees or more inside.  That's like an oven!  Even if you are only planning to leave your dog for a few minutes, don't.  Leave them at home.

2.  Don't let your dog sunbathe.  Our dog Beauty was a sunbather.  She loved nothing more than laying out in the warm summer sun.  But dogs can sunburn just like people.  Mom did not know this when we first moved here.  And so Beauty was left to enjoy her sunshine.  Only Jack Russell's don't have thick fur and she got a nasty sunburn.  I have seen Mom wince when she had one so I can imagine it was just as painful for poor Beauty.  Beauty is gone now, but Mom learned the lesson.  If we are going to be outside for a long time, she puts sunscreen on our most vulnerable areas, just like she does Carter, Morgan, and Reid.  In fact, we use the same sunscreen.  I guess if it's good enough for the dogs, it's okay for the grandkids.  Mom puts it on our ears and on the bridge of our noses and around our eyes.  Sometimes she even puts it on our tummies, but that usually means we are going to be outside for a LONG time.

3.  Provide plenty of fresh, cool water.  Mom has several big jugs she fills with water and then turns them upside down in our water bowls.  Automatic waterers, I think she calls them.  These hold enough water for me, Austin and Oscar, and the cats for the whole day.  Nothing tastes better than cool water on a hot day!

4.  If you must take your dog outside for exercise, avoid the hottest part of the day.  Mom and I go for walks or out in the garden either early in the morning or later in the evening after she has fed Dad.  Stay out of the midday sun.

5.  Consider giving your dog a haircut.  I am a short haired boy so I don't have a problem.  But Austin is a Yorkshire Terrier and has lots of long hair.  In the summer, to help keep him cool, he gets what Mom calls his "puppy cut".  (That means she cuts his hair short like mine.  He looks a little funny but he sure seems happier - and cooler).

6.  Watch where we walk.  You wear shoes.  We don't.  Have you ever burned the bottom of your feet?  It hurts!  Don't make us walk on hot sidewalks, driveways, or sand.

Summer is here.  That means lots of BBQs and trips to the beach and days out in the boat.  We want to share it with you.  Just follow these simple tips and we can enjoy the "dog days" so summer too!