Blog: How to keep your dog cool on hot summer days

David Burd, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Yes, I do own and operate a dog kennel. But when I want advice on anything concerning dogs and their welfare, I go to Dr. Peter Eeg in Poolsville, Md.

Why Eeg you might ask?

Let’s put it this way. When the National Zoo has any issues involving their animals, they call him. Eeg is one of only a handful of qualified laser surgeons in the United States. He just recently was called upon to surgically remove a tumor from a leopard salamander. Lion needs a root canal? Call Eeg.

But it is dogs that we are worried about at the moment. This heat wave and power outage has affected not only us humans, but our four legged friends, as well. Imagine losing power in 100 degree temperatures while wearing a fur coat.

I spoke with Peter Eeg about all the things that go through a pet owner’s mind when they are faced with a power loss and crazy temps. I tried to ask questions that some of you would like to ask if you had access to the doc. Here goes:

Should I shave down my dog?

Absolutely not. Sure it’s fur, but the fur helps protect your dog’s skin from the sun. Eeg suggests that you moderately shave your dog down, but not all the way.

Should I set up a sprinkler for them to run through?

No, because they probably won’t run though it and if they did, it wouldn’t help.

How about a turtle pool that they can get into?

Yes and no. Water dogs such as labradors and retrievers might love it, but not little to medium dogs. Eeg says this will stress them out.

All dogs sooner or later have to go outside to relieve themselves and exercise. Eeg’s advice is to wait until after the heat has gone down – early in the morning or past 6 p.m. – and to keep activity levels low.

To the issue of bathroom breaks, he says that in 100 degree weather your dog will not take longer than 4 minutes to relieve itself.

Every dog is different in regards to how much heat they can take. Be careful and be on the safe side. Go into the yard with your dog and supervise. Look for heat distress, like when the dog becomes lethargic and slow. If you see these signs, get them into shade or (if you have it) air conditioning.

Dogs do not have sweat glands and pant to keep cool. Make sure there is always fresh water and lots of it. If you don’t have a shady tree area, make one with a tarp that is twice the height of the dog.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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