Dog days of summer

"Sherri, he seems lethargic," I hear as soon as I enter the house.  "It's hot, really hot," is my reply.  I hear this a lot and what I usually tell folks is to enjoy it.  Down time, everyone loves a little break in the high energy of youngsters now and again.  It is officially the first day of summer, many of the kids are out already and the beaches will be filling up.  The traffic in the morning is already noticeably light, nice.  There are still a few schools full but in about a week they'll all be free for the summer.

We were up bright and early yesterday for a walk, and after a big rip and tear with one of Elsa's best friends yesterday (Hank), she was ready for an afternoon siesta.  At almost 12 Luke is always up for a nap but as the heat rose in the afternoon actions slowed.  I had the dogs out before the sun came out and it was nice and cool.  This becomes a necessity as the temps rise through the summer, no matter where you are.  Luckily here it typically cools nicely in the evening making a morning walk enjoyable but sometimes you have to get out really, really early to beat the heat.

Unfortunately with summer comes the pests, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes etc.  To avoid using the spot treatments that are so toxic my guys are in the bath about once every week and a half.  Soapy suds kill fleas, you can see it happen before you eyes.  You need to suds them up and leave it on for about 5-7 minutes.  The fleas try to escape but they drown, ahhhh too bad.  You need to vacuum a lot as well to make sure that they aren't taking up residence in your home.  As for ticks, stay away from them at this time of year.  There are many natural sprays to help deter mosquitoes as well.

When you do take your dog out in the summer make sure that you bring a bowl and water with you especially if you are doing anything active.  Cut activity down as the temperatures rise.  I often see people out in the middle of the day jogging with their dog in the sweltering heat, not good.  Dogs can overheat quickly and become gravely ill.  So even if you are up for a hot run, leave your dog at home and take them out when it gets cooler.  If you leave your dog outside during the heat of the day make sure that they can get to a good sized shady area.  Shade can give a tremendous break in the heat.  Be sure that your dog has fresh water and lots of it. 

NEVER, EVER leave your dog in the car when the temperatures start to rise.   Even 70 degree weather can get up over 100 in a car.  Dogs die needlessly every year from being left in cars.  It makes no sense and I cannot believe that people still do it.  If you see a dog in a car in the heat, immediately get help.  Go into the store and have it announced, call the police or animal control but get the dog out.  I've done this many times.  

When you do take your pooch out for a walk feel the ground.  Often the ground is so hot but we don't realize of course because we have shoes on.  Factor in that your dog is about much closer to the ground as well.  The heat rises from the ground when it's hot causing a dogs body temperature to rise easily.  Take your shoe off and stand on the surface.  Can you stand there for a full minute without saying "ouch."  Do the heat test always.  It's not fair to ask your dog to walk on something that you wouldn't want to walk on.  When you do walk try to avoid black top, the freshly paved stuff that gets so much hotter than the lighter colored stuff.

As far as color is concerned, factor that in too.  A black dog is going to feel the heat much more than a white dog.  Ever wore a black t-shirt to the beach and regret it big time?  I'm sure you have like many people.  There is a reason white is in for summer.  

Whatever you do this summer, take great care in the heat.  Enjoy it, and take the time to kick back and relax with a tall one along side your pooch in the shade.  Fill up that kiddie pool in the yard and slow down.  Summer is short, a time to relax and enjoy.