Beating the heat with your pooch during the dog days of summer

 

The summer is finally here and with it comes the warmer weather that we’ve longed for during the icy winter months.  We may be perfectly content with hot sunny days and balmy evenings, but do our four-legged companions share that view?  Dogs typically do not enjoy the heat, so what can we do to make this time comfortable for them too?  We’ve put together 9 tips to help your pooch not only survive but to enjoy the dog days of summer.

Hydration is vital

Make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water regularly throughout the day. This is something that you will do for your dog anyway, but make sure there is an even more plentiful supply of water available than usual.

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Exercise your dog during the coolest part of the day

The coolest times tend to be either early morning or later at night.  Make sure that your dog still gets exercise, but you may have to reduce the length and speed of the walks if the temperatures are too high.  Take extra care if walking on sidewalks, as the temperature of the asphalt can burn a dog’s paws and the heat radiating off the asphalt or cement can be unbearable.  Where possible stick to walking on grass, which will be much cooler for your dog and for you too.

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Keep your house cool

If your dog is home alone while you are at work, don’t forget to set the air conditioner to run periodically throughout the day.  For homes without an air conditioner, keep blinds and drapes closed and set ceiling fans to run counter-clockwise at a slightly higher speed than normal. Tiled floors can provide some cool relief so your dog may prefer to lie down on tile rather than in his usual favorite area in the house. If you don’t have tile, using a wet towel that he can lie on can give a similar effect.

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Don’t leave your dog in the car

Temperatures inside a vehicle can soar in a matter of minutes.  According to the SPCA, on a day when it is 85 degrees Fahrenheit outside, a car’s temperature can reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes and by 30 minutes can be at a sweltering 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Never leave a dog in a car!

Don’t leave your dog outside for extended periods in the heat

When your dog goes out to the backyard, ensure there are shaded areas and that there is access to plenty of water.  Dog houses can become very hot areas during warmer weather, so providing some umbrellas for shade is a better option to protect from sunburn and from heat. If you have the double whammy of high temperatures and high humidity, keep your dog inside as the humidity will stop the dog from being able to cool himself off sufficiently when he pants.

Provide dog-appropriate popsicles

Your dog can enjoy some cooling ice treats too.  Chicken broth frozen into ice cubes goes down really well with some dogs. Even if you just add ice cubes made from water to the drinking bowl, your dog will appreciate it.

Keep your dog well groomed

For double-coated dogs, the top layer of hair can protect from heat and sunburn, while the hair underneath can act as the dog’s cooling system.  Make sure to brush regularly as matted dog hair will interfere with this cooling process.  Talk to a groomer about whether trimming your dog’s fur can help make your dog more comfortable – it doesn’t work for all breeds but may be appropriate for your dog’s breed.

Provide a splash zone

Not all dogs like to get wet, but if yours does, providing a little puppy wading pool in the backyard when you are there to supervise can be a fun way for him to cool off.

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Pay closer attention to your dog during warmer weather and especially if your dog is very old or very young.   If he is panting excessively and drooling more than usual, or if you notice that he is urinating less frequently or not at all, has a red tongue and red gums, and is vomiting blood or has black, tarry stools, these may be signs of heat stroke. Try to gradually reduce the dog’s temperature using cool (but not cold) water and contact your veterinarian immediately for further advice.

Do you have any tips on what helps your dog stay cool during hot weather?  We’d love to hear about them.

Dog sleep in the hammock

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Why Mom was Right About Spring Cleaning: Part 2, Valeting

Part 2: Valeting your vehicle

Used daily and often multiple times a day in most households, your vehicle is one of the most frequently utilized items but often falls low on the list of cleaning priorities. Although car art using dirty vehicles has seen some recent popularity via social media postings, I don’t know of any driver who wouldn’t want to be able to see clearly through the windshield when they drive. The vast majority would also want to keep their vehicle’s paintwork protected from dirt and grime. If your vehicle’s interior is starting to show the wear and tear of being used as a dining room, a sports locker, and general storage unit, a bit of a deep clean treatment may be in order. An article in a British newspaperstated that a car steering wheel has 9 times more germs on it than a public toilet seat. I don’t know about you, but just that snippet of information made me desperate to get cleaning my car.

 

car-art

When frigid temperatures are starting to thaw, Spring makes the perfect time to give your car a deep clean, inside and out. Having your car detailed by a professional can be expensive, but there are many things that you can do yourself to give your vehicle a thorough refresh.

Outside

When tackling your vehicle’s exterior, clean wheels and tires first, using appropriate cleaning products.

Salt is helpful for improving driving conditions on winter roads, but wreaks havoc with paintwork so should be washed off as soon as possible. Grab a sponge, a bucket of soapy water (preferably using a car wash solution that doesn’t strip out protective coatings), and wash your vehicle by hand. When you’ve rinsed everything down, and before the car dries, use a squeegee to remove excess water to avoid unsightly spotting on the paintwork. If possible wash your car weekly but if exposed to bird droppings or sap, try to rinse this off before it dries as it can affect your paintwork.

When dry, follow up with two coats of wax to protect the paintwork from stains and minor scratches.  Wax wears off, so it is best to reapply every season

Check headlights for any rock chips, scratches or a hazy finish to the plastic.

kids-washing-car

It may be a struggle to get kids interested in doing some household chores, but many love to wash a car.  Get them involved so you can bond during the fun of the car wash.

Inside

During colder months, your vehicle’s interior can sometimes get dirtier than other times of the year with mud, rain, and snow being tracked in on people’s shoes and boots and pet’s paws.    Cleaning the interior can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but the following tips may help make it a little easier to tackle. First, clear out garbage that may have accumulated and then remove car mats and trunk liners. Get out the vacuum cleaner to tackle dust, dirt, pet hair, and debris, using a brush vacuum tool around vents. Spot clean stains on the carpet with an appropriate carpet cleaner.

Cleaning the inside of the glass in windows is really important, so use an anti-glare glass cleaner where possible and avoid ammonia-based products.

The dash, seats, handles, doors and headliner of the car all deserve your attention too.  Products are available that can kill bacteria and neutralize odors within the vehicle.  It can be worthwhile investing in these, to get a super fresh feel to your interior. An old toothbrush can be a handy cleaning tool to get into the nooks and crannies of vinyl and the seams on seats.

cleaning-the-inside-of-car

If you hate taking a long time to clean your vehicle’s interior, there are a few things that can be done to make it speedier.

  • If you regularly transport a lot of passengers including pets and kids you may want to consider installing vehicle-specific rubber car mats and trunk mat liners, which make cleaning a snap. Travall offers a good range with a pleasant vanilla fragrance. The unique lipped design helps prevent spills from reaching the carpet, saving your carpet and reducing your car cleaning time.
  • Just as you might keep a box of baking soda in your refrigerator to eliminate odors, you can take a similar approach with keeping car odors at bay.  Just make sure the baking soda is in a non-breakable container that is securely anchored in a safe position.
  • Adding a plastic garbage can to the car is helpful to keep future rides neater and tidier.plastic-trash-can-in-car

Cleaning the car can be fun and a great activity to get kids involved in. Why not take the time to give your vehicle a bit of extra attention?  Mom was right about spring cleaning – you’re sure to notice an improvement in your ride experience.

 

dog-washing-car

Do you have any tips that help keep your vehicle looking and smelling good?  We’d love to hear about them!

Reference

  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1379830/How-clean-car-Steering-wheels-times-germs-public-toilet-seat.html  May 2011

 

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