What People Experiencing Homelessness Can Do To Keep Their Dog Cool This Summer

What People Experiencing Homelessness Can Do To Keep Their Dog Cool This Summer

What People Experiencing Homelessness Can Do To Keep Their Dog Cool This Summer

By Alec Littlejohn, Founder, Pawscessories

The temperature is rising, and that means it’s time to be extra cautious of your pet dog’s well-being. People experiencing homelessness with dogs face an especially difficult challenge this summer, as they often lack access to air conditioning. Thankfully, there are ways to keep their dogs safe and cool during the hot summer months. Read on for tips on how to do just that!

1) Shade Is Your Friend

As the temperatures start to rise, it’s important to take extra care of your furry friend. Dogs are susceptible to heatstroke, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.

One of the best ways to keep your dog cool in summer is to provide them with plenty of shade. Trees and shrubs can offer natural shade, but if you don’t have any plants near you, you can create a makeshift shelter using a tarp or umbrella if you have one.

It’s also important to note that you want to avoid dark surfaces like asphalt. These places absorb the most heat, so they stay warmer longer. This is why it’s essential to do your best to find areas that haven’t been exposed to the sun all day long and have some cover.

2) Do Your Best To Give Them Plenty Of Water

Water is essential for all animals, but it’s especially important during summer. Dogs can quickly become dehydrated in hot weather, so it’s crucial to make sure they always have access to fresh water.

Dogs are only able to sweat through their tongue by panting (primarily), which means they have a much more difficult time cooling themselves down naturally. This is why doing what you can to get them access to water is so important.

If you don’t have a bowl, you can use a bottle or cup to give your dog small sips of water throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to bring along an extra bottle in case you can’t find a source of fresh water for your dog to drink from.

3) Avoid Walking During Peak Heat Times

The pavement can become incredibly hot when the sun is at its highest. This can cause your dog’s paws to burn, blister and make it that much easier for them to overheat.

Choosing to walk in the morning before the temperature has reached its hottest for the day or waiting until the evening after things have cooled down is best. Generally, 12-4 pm is the hottest period of the day; the further away from that time you can plan your walks, the better.

If you must walk during these times, try to stick to grassy areas as much as possible. This will help protect your dog’s paws from the hot ground. If there isn’t grass around, try walking on the cooler side of the street or in the shade.

4) Place a Wet Towel, Sheet, Or Piece Of Clothing Over Top Of Them

Another way to help keep your dog cool in summer is by placing a damp towel, sheet, or piece of clothing over them. This will help regulate their body temperature and cool them down.

Be sure to use a light-colored piece of fabric so that it doesn’t absorb too much heat from the sun. You can also soak a bandana in water and tie it around their neck for a cooling effect.

5) Find a Spot With a Nice Breeze

If you can find a spot with a nice breeze, this will also help your dog cool down. The wind will help evaporate the sweat on their fur and skin, which will help them regulate their body temperature.

Places that are more likely to have a breeze in the city are areas with narrow gaps. The direction of the wind matters, but for example, an alley is more likely to have a more pronounced breeze than an open field because the wind has less space to travel.

A nice cool breeze can go a long way on a hot summer’s day, and if you can find a spot with a breeze, your dog will greatly appreciate it.

6) Know The Signs Of Over Heating

One of the most important things you can do to keep your dog from getting too warm is to know the signs of overheating/heat exhaustion.

Suppose your dog is panting excessively, has a rapid heartbeat, is drooling excessively, seems lethargic or uncoordinated, or has glazed-over eyes. In that case, these are all signs that your dog is overheating and needs to cool down immediately.

If you see any of these signs, it’s crucial to find a shady place for them to rest and get them a drink of water. You can also wet their fur down with cool water to help bring their body temperature down.

If your dog’s condition does not improve or worsens, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition.

7) Talk To Your Local Animal Shelter About Providing Cooling Mats Or Ice Packs

If you’re in an area with many homeless animals, chances are your local animal shelter is already aware of the issue and may provide cooling mats or ice packs for them. If not, it’s worth asking about.

It never hurts to ask; not everyone knows that some shelters do this. If your local shelter provides these things, it can significantly help keep your dog cool during the summer.

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The views expressed on this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Feeding Pets of the Homeless, and Feeding Pets of the Homeless hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.