So now that the heat has really started here in sunny Campbell, CA I have had to learn more about dog care in summer. Bizz is a very fluffy white dog and he can overheat really quickly. I've had to figure out a few things and fortunately found some web sites and tv shows that have offered some helpful tips.
1. Hydration - dogs can dehydrate very quickly. I make sure Bizz always has a full bowl of water at home and it's full of ice. I know that people who know me are very aware of my ice addiction in all things cold, but - dogs like icy cold water as well. Helps them cool off. One show also recommended that you make a dog ice lick mixing water and chicken stock and freezing it so dogs can lick it. Bizz and I aren't quite there yet since he does like to carry food to odd places in the house - I'm not sure I want a big block of frozen chicken stock melting in my bed. I have also started carrying with me small bottles of water (available at Trader Joes) and I've trained Bizz to drink from a bottle. He laps the water out of the bottle or I pour it slowly and he licks it like he would from a faucet. I now carry water bottles for both of us when we are out walking. And at restaurants, outdoor cafes and even fast food places - just let them know you have a dog and ask for a cup or plastic container of ice water. Everyone is incredibly obliging and helpful and I've never been turned down yet. I am still in search of the perfect foldable container so if you know of one send me a comment.
2. Walk at the coolest times of the day - Bizz and I do two longer walks during the day - one before 10 am and one after it gets dark (after 8 p.m.). That way he can walk longer and the hot pavement doesn't hurt his feet. Also, the advantage of California microclimates is that you can drive to a cool foggy place fairly easily - hence our explorations of Fort Funston and Carmel.
3. Always have a shady spot outside for him to rest - we are very lucky to have two shady trees in our yard and a small overhang that provides shade all day. Dogs can't be left out in a yard in full sun without anyplace to retreat.
4. Frequent bathing - not every day but Bizz does get a bath at least once a week (more if he rolls in something disgusting). Dirt on a dog can cause them to get hotter. Also, I make sure to wash his head and face each day with a cool washcloth to help him stay cooler.
5. Don't expect them to eat as much. I was fretting since Bizz wasn't eating very much but I realized that like humans dogs feel the heat as well. I make sure he always has access to fresh kibble and water and he still gets his wet food but in smaller amounts.
6. NEVER LEAVE A DOG IN A CAR - I am endlessly shocked that people will lock a dog in their car just for "five minutes". Cars can heat incredibly rapidly and cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death. I never leave Bizz in the car except at the gas station and there the window is open and I'm right outside of it talking to him. If you can't be making sure your dog is ok and comfortable then the best thing to do is leave him at home in a shady yard or cool house.