It’s another hot August weekend, isn’t it? Time to think about your pets. Remember, some dogs have a tougher time with the hot weather. We sometimes aren’t as tuned to this fact since our ways of cooling ourselves may include–forgive my southern roots for a moment– becoming all dewy and feeling unladylike for sure! We may fan ourselves, wear lightweight clothing, or sit in the shade with a tall cool drink to run across our foreheads! But on their own, my dogs can only find a shady spot and take long drinks of H2O. Add to that, dear Mae-be Baby and other Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers (short nosed dogs) have a very difficult time perspiring! Thank goodness they do have their paws, another way to regulate their body heat.
Mae-be showed me her own solution to the heat one day! One very hot afternoon I had just freshened a good-sized farmhouse ceramic mixing bowl sitting in the shade and partially recessed in the dirt to help keep a fairly cool temperature, and I watched Mae-be go right to it for a long drink. Dogs, just like us, do not always remember to restore their water tanks, so I try to make sure to reward them for drinking water. So there I was saying “Oh good girl, have some more water!” and she stuck her paw right into the bowl! I thought she might be claiming her territory or washing a foxtail out of her paw, but after checking, all was well, yet she repeated her paw-washing technique a few more times.
And this year we were ready! The local pet stores sell small wading pools, just like the ones I remember from childhood, except that in place of fish and shell designs on the bottom there are a number of bone-shaped raised areas, I suppose to provide better footing… or is that pawing? It only took a few minutes of filling it with water before both dogs were acting like this was the largest watering dish EVER!
With treats in hand and cheerful encouragement, “Want a treat? Get in the water,” both dogs were soon testing the bottom of the pool with one paw each. Mae-be was delighted to be the one to jump in–so to speak, but she seemed to wonder why a dog with such a hairy coat—Ruffles, was so hesitant! More treats and even more encouraging words, and I still needed to find the right arm positioning so that Ruffles would not just run around the outside of the pool. But soon both dogs stopped panting and enjoyed. Now Mae-be will place all four paws in the water, even performing a little twirl for good measure.
During these “Dog Days of Summer” please remember your own critters! Freezing bottles of water and leaving them in their play areas can be just the thing. Ice cubes or frozen veggies can provide cool entertainment for your pets. Horses often like to play with large melons in a cool tub of water; their version of bobbing for apples. And every animal, even fish in an outside pond, needs shade. I never take my dogs with me in the car this time of year. The temps in California and other desert areas are deadly in less than ten minutes!
While we’re talking about protecting our animal friends from the heat, I want to remind you to do the same for yourself. Remember to re-hydrate! And you know, a wading pool can sometimes be a good place for big people, too. Please stay cool!