We’ve all heard the standard warnings – don’t leave a dog in a parked car, but with temperatures soaring into the high 90s across the West Coast, our dedicated Boxer parents may be looking for other ways to keep your four-legged family members cooler, especially since Boxers are among the list of short muzzle dogs that may have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
First follow the basics:
Provide ample shade and water for your pooch;
Limit hard exercise and try to keep exercise to the cooler morning and evening hours.
Limit your dog’s pavement walking as the hot pavement can raise their internal temperatures and burn their feet. If you are going to walk your dog greater distances on pavement in the heat, you can use their winter boots as summer protection.
Watch the humidity. "Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly," says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
Beyond these, dog owners have been getting more creative in helping their beloved four-leggers keep cool:
Water! Water isn’t just for cooling down internal temperatures. Many dogs enjoy kiddie pools, and swimming in lakes, rivers and pools. You can also give your dog a cool bath or rub cool water on his/her neck and back or put a cool damp towel over them to help them cool off. Many dogs also enjoy playing with the sprinkler or hose if you are watering your garden.
Homemade Popsicles. You can mix any number of liquids to make your pooch his/her own popsicles. Some common popsicle ingredients are Pedialyte (to get an extra boost of electrolytes), plain Greek yogurt, beef or chicken broth, and peanut butter. Any of these can be made in typical popsicle holders or ice trays or even bone shaped freezer trays (new from Freezy Pups, www.freezypups.com, they also sell their own pre-made popsicle mixtures). Small popsicles can be put in Kong-style toys or used in place of regular treats.
Frozen foods. You can freeze carrots or bananas or other puppy favorites to cool them down.
Let them dig! While this is contrary to many of our landscaping goals and behavior training, dogs dig holes not just out of frustration, but in the wild they dig dens not just to find food or hide, but also to keep cool!
Accessorize them! You can now find cooling collars and cooling vests and much more at your local specialized dog store.
Mostly, keep in tune with your dog throughout the day to she how he/she is handling the heat and help them stay cool.
And lastly, know the signs of heatstroke: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness; a dog’s temperature should not rise above 104 degrees.