By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM
Summer is bearing down on the east coast at full steam ahead. The unrelenting heat and humidity have all of us, dogs included, looking for ways to keep cool. Here are my cooling suggestions for your dog, courtesy of Ben, the Border Collie.
Cool in the pool
The photo above shows Ben taking a dip in his pool after an energetic game of Frisbee. Notice the pool is mostly in the shade to keep the water cool and inviting. Dark-coated dogs like Ben are more prone to overheating since their fur absorbs rather than reflects the rays of the sun, so if these dogs are outside in the heat, provide a shady place for resting. Since the water in the pool is not filtered, it should be replaced every day, but the water can be used to water plants or the lawn. The plastic kiddie pool gets my vote since there is no danger of falling in or being unable to get out. Some dogs love swimming in the family pool, but they should never swim alone and should be supervised at all times in the pool area to prevent an accidental drowning. You may even consider a doggie life jacket for the more timid swimmers.
To cool off when he comes inside, Ben likes a frozen treat straight from the freezer. SweetSpots are his favorite. They come in two flavors: peanut butter and honey or sweet potato and molasses. He laps the tasty frozen treat right from the 3.5 fluid ounce container. After a big Frisbee workout, he deserves a treat, but these treats pack a lot of calories: 110 per container of peanut butter and honey and 75 for the sweet potato and molasses. I recommend no more than 10% of daily calories be consumed as treats. So for your dog to follow those recommendations, the 110 calories of peanut butter and honey are enough treat calories for a 60-pound dog. You can make your own frozen treats by putting a portion of your dog’s daily canned food into ice cube trays or hollow feeding toys and freezing.
Have a cold one!
On a hot day, there is nothing like a cold, frosty beer. Beer for humans is dangerous for dogs since it contains alcohol and hops. Lucky for dogs, Bowser Beer contains neither ingredient and is a safe drink for your dog on a hot day. Ben hasn’t tried Bowser Beer, yet, but when he does he can choose from brown ale or cock a doodle brew! While your dog might want a burger to go with his brew, I suggest a squeaky hamburger or hot dog rather than the real thing with his Bowser Beer.
These are all fun summer suggestions, but in all seriousness, too much fun in the sun can prove fatal for your dog. For a serious blog on heatstroke, click here.