Shelter dogs keep cool in kiddie pools

A pooch gets cool in the pool at Prince George\'s County Animal Management Facilities in Upper Marlboro.(WTOP/Kate Ryan)

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – The term “shelter dogs” can conjure up images of unkempt animals in depressing settings.

While the work done by Prince George’s Animal Management Services in Upper Marlboro is very serious — the agency investigates neglect and cruelty cases and deal with a flood of unwanted animals — Thursday was a different story. There was a pool party going on, but not for the staff. It was for the dogs.

A passel of puppies, pit bull mixes and a pug, took the plunge in two baby pools set out for them. Some dove in more eagerly than others. And Deputy Chief of the Animal Management Division, Terry Littlejohn, was checking in.

A pug had just been toweled down when the whole pack ran across the fenced yard, sometimes taking a dash and a dip through the two baby pools set out to keep them cool.

Littlejohn says homeowners should consider buying baby pools for their own dogs.

“An animal outside in this weather is just like you or I outside with our winter coats on,” says Littlejohn.

Since animals rely on conserving energy – or in the case of dogs panting to cool off – it’s critical they not be outside on days when temperatures hit the triple digit mark.

Littlejohn says there’s one place for dogs on those days: indoors.

“I’m a strong advocate of not having your animal outside unless you’re going to be outside with your animal anyway,” says Littlejohn.

According to Littlejohn, a pet left outside on its own, even in a fenced yard, is vulnerable.

“There’s always going to be a predator out there whether it’s a larger animal or whether its a person who just wants to do something malicious.”

Bottom line, says Llittlejohn: “Your animal will be happier and healthier indoors.”

Ever notice how your pet seems to like what you like? The comfiest spot on the sofa, the delicious bit of steak?

Here are some tips on keeping critters cool:

  • Pets likes A.C. too. So keep him inside in air conditioned comfort.
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Provide your pet with water 24/7. Just like you, they like it cool, clear and fresh.
  • For dogs: When blazing hot, keep it strictly business. As in letting the dog do his business, then high-tail it back to the house.
  • If you want to get a walk in, keep it short and stick to the early morning hours or the evening.
  • Skip the running workout: You may want to blast the theme from Rocky in your head and test your mettle against the likes of Usain Bolt, but your dog can sit this one out. Until temperatures moderate. Or October. Whichever comes first.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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