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Hot dog! Make sure your pet beats the heat this summer

Oh, he's there all right. Baking and looking out for intruders. (Click for larger image.)

Oh, he’s there all right. Baking and looking out for intruders. (Click for larger image.)

One of my dog’s favorite things to do is lie in the yard. I’ve tried to explain to him that he’s spent enough time working on his tan, but he just doesn’t listen to me. He’s like the canine George Hamilton.

But man, the poor guy can’t stay out for more than five minutes now before his tongue starts sticking out.

The ASPCA has some awesome tips for taking care of your dog in the summer; and it’s more or less like taking care of your kids. Don’t leave them in parked cars, don’t over-exercise them, and check for warning signs of overheating. You’ll know when your pet isn’t acting like his normal self.

Also, keep plenty of water around. Right now I have to refill my dog’s bowls (yes, bowls) at least twice a day. He gets extremely thirsty.

Don’t let your dog decide how long he  gets to stay out. Usually he’ll let you know when he’s ready, but sometimes he just wants to sit there and bake. I  try to lure him in from the heat with key words that let him know good things will come to him. One of my favorite lines to use is, “I’m going to go in and have some bacon. You don’t have to if you don’t want, but I’m gonna eat some bacon.” (Sebastian knows that any meaty, soft dog treat is what we call “bacon,” so it’s a key word that gets him salivating.) Sometimes he runs right in, but a lot of times he just sits and stares at me, I close the back door, look through the peephole and there he is. And he is ALWAYS rewarded for coming back in. You have to be consistent.

Back to the car thing. This afternoon I got in my car to run some errands and the dang thing was ON FIRE. I’m just glad I have plush seats, but doggies still have to deal with seat belts and hard interior in cars. So if you’re taking your dog to the vet or to the groomer in the hottest hours of the day, and you don’t have covered parking, either get a windshield cover OR run the A/C to cool off the car before your dog’s in.

Frozen treats – they work. I’ve heard of people making doggie ice cubes, or sticking tennis balls in socks and putting them in the freezer, but I’ve found that those frozen dog treats that are near the ice cream work great. Schwan’s sells a great Doggie Sundae; I haven’t tried the frozen Bil-Jac treats on him but I’m sure he’d love it. (Sebastian knows these treats as “puppy ice cream” and goes nuts over it.)

Last but not least, you’ll have to limit your dog walks. Sebastian freaks out when I ask him if he wants to go get the mail, which requires a short walk to the end of the street where all the mailboxes are. He’s helping. Now I try to take him to the mailbox after dark or at the end of the day. Sometimes I take him out to get the mail even if I’ve already gone and gotten it out myself!

What do you do to keep your dog cool in the summer?


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