Public Service Announcement: Hot dogs and bruised legs

Public Service Announcement: Hot dogs and bruised legs
August 5, 2010 by Colleen Safford
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Ok, so I hesitated to write this one. It's been done and said a million times.  It seems everyone knows that dogs and heat don't always mix well.  But do "they!? "  

I folded on this. Here, I sit and write. The nervous Nelly neurotic dog loving mama in me felt like I needed to issue my own public service announcement. Not once or twice, BUT THREE TIMES (imagine my eyeballs sticking out to the computer screen right now) on the news this week, I have heard about a doggy death related to heat.  Three! Grrrffff.... Big sigh. Tragic. Avoidable.

As you may know, I run a boarding facility called Far Fetched Acres. Today, with 94 degree heat and what felt like 134% humidity, I questioned whether I was in upstate NY or the Congo.  It was a ruff day for the dogs and our team. Ok, dogs were happy, but we were complaining.   We are here to cater to the dogs, they're comfort and safety. So, given today's weather, we shifted the schedule to keep our campers happy and cool.

We were out early a.m. , then cut our normal big midday romp by 75% in favor of a longer evening exercise session.  This schedule works great for the dogs as it helps avoid the scorching high sun hours; when instead they are lying on a cool floor!  They absolutely love the kiddie pool we have for them, and some of our wee ones make  private pools for themsleves in our Great Dane sized water dishes.

This heat  had me (stupidly...errr) bravely go where no doggy caretaker should go. I wore shorts.  If you know me (and my pasty legs) this is funny on many levels. One, my legs are really not appropriate for public consumption, but I convinced myself that the dogs loved me enough to see them.  On a not-so serious note though, anyone who's anyone that can relate to having ten dogs in their care,  knows that you are just asking for it by exposing skin like this.  Paws, agile limbs, sticks, toys and other miscellaneous things are flying around the dog run.  As one might expect, turns out, heat can cause severe surface trauma to human legs too. Why no has no one issued a public service about that? I could've used it! I digress (must be the heat).

Here's my public service announcement and tips for keeping your dog safe and cool this month!

Sun lotion – Applying lotion to the tips of your pup’s ears and nose will help protect him from sustaining a sun burn. This is particularly important for short coated, white dogs, like the boxer and bulldog varieties.

Change in walk schedule – Avoiding the high sun hours during days of extreme heat is highly advised. The sidewalks and streets get extremely hot. This can lead to heat exhaustion and can also be very painful for your pup’s paws. If you and your pup frequent the dog run, be sure to go early before the sun is high or later in the evening.

Decrease exercise level – If you generally go on a half hour to one hour walk, cut that in half. Give your dog an opportunity to eliminate and then retreat to the indoors or a nice shaded area in the park.

Water – During extreme weather be sure to carry a water bottle to help cool your dog.

Cars - Do not leave a dog unattended in a car. Windows up or windows down – this is a sure fire way to cause heat stroke, and potentially death.

Outdoor dog houses/runs - Do not leave your dog outdoors for extended periods of time without checking on him.

Cooling Products - Outward Hound makes great little cooling neck bandanas, there are numerous cooling beds on the market as well as cooling vests! Google them!

When to see a vet -  If your dogs is showing symptoms of heat stroke such as extreme lethargy (or inability to get up), disorientation, red gums and eyes, thick saliva. Taking the above small measures of caution will avoid any visit to the vet.

VERY warm wags,

Colleen

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Dog of the Week!

Meet: Greg