As the weather continue to get nicer this summer, you may find yourself wanting to be outside as much as possible with your pets. But excessive heat can cause serious problems for our four-legged counterparts. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to have fun, and stay cool. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has a few tips to help keep your furry friend keep cool, have fun and enjoy all that the summer sun has to offer.
Water Is Key
One of the easiest, and most fun, ways to help your dog stay cool is to find some water to splash around in. Try to find parks and trails in your area that have creeks or small streams, or even dog-friendly water fountains or lakes.
Pro Tip: Be sure to keep your dog on a leash where it is required, and avoid any bodies of water that contain blue-green algae.
If you don’t have any good parks nearby with water features, another option is to purchase a small kiddie pool. Many supermarkets and hardware stores have these in stock during the summer months, and you can give your fur friend its own private swimming hole for a reasonable cost.
Pro Tip: Remember, never allow your dog access to the pool unsupervised and change the water frequently.
Enjoy a Cool Treat
Dogs love to eat, and they appreciate frozen treats when the temperature is hot outside just as much as we do. If your dog gets bored easily, try stuffing a Kong with the canned dog food of your choice, or peanut butter, then put it in the freezer for a few hours. This will keep them busy for a while, and if you have two Kongs, you can always have one waiting in the freezer. Be sure to take into account the calories from this treat and adjust your pets’ regular meals accordingly.
Here is a simple recipe you can try at home that both you and your dog can enjoy:
1. Cut a cantaloupe into bite-sized pieces (be sure to remove the skin and seeds).
2. Freeze the melon pieces for at least four hours, using a baking sheet to spread them out.
3. Blend two cups of frozen melon along with two tablespoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt in a food processor or blender, adding water to thin if necessary.
You can also use watermelon or bananas instead of cantaloupe, or substitute peanut butter for the yogurt to mix things up. Just be sure to check that there is no xylitol in the yogurt or peanut butter.
For our feline friends, you can freeze water in a balloon or a plastic egg and let your cat bat the frozen toy around until it melts.
Pro-tip: Be careful that as these items start to melt, no humans accidentally slip on any wet spots. Also keep an eye out while your pet is playing to ensure that if any kind of toy breaks, the pieces are removed from of paws’ reach immediately to avoid ingestion and possible obstruction.
While we encourage you to take advantage of the long summer days with your pet, don’t let heat stroke stop the fun—ensure that your pet is properly supervised during all hot weather activities and contact your vet if you notice excessive panting, loss of balance, weakness or collapse.
photo source: ASPCA