By WHEELS / Special Dog Contributor
Hi, my name is Wheels and I am a Boston Terrier. I think being both a dog and a resident of Dallas qualifies me to blog about the Dog Days of Summer.
What exactly are the Dog Days? The hottest, most sultry days of summer, named so for Sirius, the dog star. With Texas temperatures averaging 95 degrees during the Dog Days - July and August - and often exceeding 100 degrees, heat strokes and fatalities are a concern for humans and us dogs.
I have some tips on how you humans can protect us and keep us safe during the sweltering Texas heat.
Make sure when we are outside that we have plenty of shade and that we can get to it.
Keep our water bowl filled with cool fresh, water. Put the bowl in the shade and don’t forget to move it back and forth as the sun changes. Sometimes, my human makes a huge ice block by freezing water in a plastic container and then plopping it into my bowl. This keeps the water cool longer and it’s fun to lick.
A dip in a kiddie pool is a great way to stay cool, especially for big dogs. I wish I had one.
If you take us for a walk, do it during the coolest time of the day and shorten our distance. Also consider our paws, especially on sidewalks and parking lots. You have a closet full of flip flops and tennies; we have only our pads.
Never leave us in a parked car. If it is 93 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a car, even with the windows open a bit, will climb to 102 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, to 125 degrees in just 20 minutes and approximately 140 degrees in 40 minutes. A parked car in the Texas summer heat is deadly.
Many of us are indoor dogs and just like you, we become acclimated to air-conditioning, making the outside heat even harder to take. Remember that when we go outside to exercise! My human sets the kitchen timer to remind her how long I have been outside in case she gets busy on the computer or telephone.
Flat face, short nose breeds like me (Pugs, Frenchies, Bull Dogs and Boxers are some other flat face breeds) are even more susceptible to heat than long nose breeds and we can quickly become overheated.
Panting, vomiting, diarrhea and red spots on the ears or gums are all signs of over heating or heat stroke. If this happens, cool us down with cold cloths and ice cubes and get us to the veterinarian or emergency clinic as quickly as possible.
I hope all my canine friends and neighbors have a safe and happy summer. Snitch a hot dog or two from the back yard cook-out when no one is looking!