Chill Your Pet Out During the Dog Days of Summer

1215617865While Boston heat waves (like the one we’re experiencing right now) usually transform the masses into frenzied A/C fiends, we usually get by just fine. But what about our four legged friends who share in that stifling misery?

We asked four area animal experts for advice on keeping your pets cooled down and safe as the mercury continues to rise.

“Dogs’ skin can burn too, so be sure to give them plenty of shade. Their paws can even crack and burn on hot pavement, so it’s important to protect them with an oily balm— we use one called Mushers’s Secret— and small dogs can wear booties.”Jen Buhler, Assistant General Manager, Doggie Days.

“Keep water available at all times. In the event of heat exposure, the best thing to do is to wet down the dog with a hose or in the bathtub. But if the dog seems severely affected, take him to the vet.”—Armelle de Laforcade, DVM, Hospital Director at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment and Specialties.

“Getting a dog shaved doesn’t necessarily keep him cooler because the fur acts as sort of an insulator and a protector from the sun and heat. Shaved skin will actually absorb more heat from the sun since there is no fur to protect them. Also, dogs can get skin cancer just like humans, so if they’re going out in the bright sun it’s a good idea to put sunblock on sensitive exposed areas like their ears and noses. And, if you must leave your pet during the day, it’s best to keep them cornered off in a bathroom or kitchen with a tile floor.”—Pam Bendock, VMD, owner Back Bay Veterinary Clinic.

“To keep them cooled down I put the sprinkler on in the backyard and they love that. There are also little beds you can fill with cold water for the dogs to lie on. And I even use one of those apparatus things that people use to fertilize plants. I fill it with water and pump it to cool them off —it’s great.”Amy Marder, VMD CAAB (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist), Director of the Center for Shelter Dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

—Joe McGauley