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Posted on 06-22-2016

These dog days of summer can be a fun time for both humans and pets!  When temperatures rise, it's important to take precautions to make sure our furry friends stay cool, comfortable and safe.

As many people know, vehicles can be a dangerous place for dogs and cats during warmer months, as the temperature inside the car rises very quickly. If you need to run errands around town, it's best to leave your pet at home in a temperature controlled environment with free access to fresh water. Small amounts of frozen peanut butter can be a yummy treat to keep your pup busy and cool while you are away - just be sure the peanut butter does not contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener which can be toxic to dogs. 

Hot pavement can pose another health risk to dogs and cats. Asphalt and concrete heated by the sun can burn the bottom of our pets' paw pads, which is very painful and can take a long time to heal.  A good rule of thumb is to touch any surface your dog will walk on with your own hand. If it is uncomfortably hot for you, it is too hot for your dog.  We recommend limiting leash walks to the early morning or late evening on hot days, and to use discretion during midday walks by staying in shaded paths, or on dirt trails rather than pavement. You can also purchase booties with hard soles for your pet that can be worn in both hot and very cold weather.

Rolo is having a great time with his family!

Always consider a life vest for your pup when boating or playing near deep water.

Staying hydrated is important all year round, but especially during spring and summer months. Always keep fresh water available to your pet. When hiking or on walks, it is a good idea to take a water bottle and a portable bowl with you so your pet can have water breaks throughout your adventure.

Flat-faced (or brachycephalic) breeds such as Pugs, French and English bulldogs, Boston terriers and Boxers, are especially prone to overheating in warm weather because they are unable to cool themselves as efficiently as other breeds. We recommend short leash walks in the morning and evening only for these dogs, with no excessive exercise during hot weather. These breeds will benefit from staying indoors in air-conditioned areas of the house.

Shaded dog parks can be a great source of fun and exercise for your dog. Please reserve moderate to heavy exercise to early morning only (before the day gets too hot), when the risk of overheating is lower. Lake swimming is another good way for dogs to get exercise in warmer weather, and small, shallow kiddie pools are great for staying cool at home! Indoor dog parks can be the perfect alternative for those hot, humid days.

Trina, enjoying a shaded walk by the river.

Portland has many great trails to choose from!

Originally posted June 6, 2016.

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