Saturday, June 16, 2018

Chicago Hot Dogs - And This Post is NOT About Food

Angel Barkey lived for summer and water.

Chicagoland is under a heat warning, with temps in the upper 90's with high humidity.  90+ weather is not that common up here along the Great Lakes. Some folks in the city don't even have Central air, they just have a window unit in the upstairs bedrooms which in these old Bungalows get really hot in the summer.

Abby Lab has shown no interest in going out after an early morning walk.  I think we'll skip the afternoon walk, the pavement is just too hot for her paws. If she wants to play in the fenced yard which has a lot of shade, we'll do that, then my husband can walk her quickly to the end of the block and back before we go to bed.

Some breeds are more heat sensitive than others, but all pet lovers need to know ways to keep your pet cool in the summer.   You should also educate yourself to signs of heatstroke in your pet. Talk to your vet or visit some of the Veterinarian supported web pages that contain that information.
Today we're just going to talk about some simple things you can do, many of which cost little to nothing, to keep your canine comfortable when it's hot out. 

*If you have a room with a linoleum, or tile floor provide a wet (but not sopping, wring it out) towel for your dog to lay on.

*If you have any of those thin gel pack (I use the CVS  Gentle Fabric cold compress) that you can put in the freezer for sore muscles that have no tears in them, wrap in a dry towel and place on their bed.  Abby loves to lay on one when she comes in from outside.  Do NOT use if your dog is a chewer, the gel may be toxic.

*Add some ice cubes to the water dish.

*Replace a meal or two a day of kibble with wet food, which will help your pet stay hydrated. As with any food change, start by substituting a 1/4 cup then work up each day until you are at the amount per day of wet food you want
Even the evil squirrel cartel gets extra water when it's hot.

*Have a collapsible or lightweight dish for water on walks.  I got one made by Petmate at Chewy that was less than $5. That way you can give your dog a drink with bottled water mid walk

*If you don't have a.c., put a big pan of ice cubes in front of the fan and turn it on in the room your pet hangs out in (by the way fans are great on a deck or patio if you have a power source to keep mosquitoes away - they can't land in a crosswind!)

*If the dog is going to be outside for playtime, and the house or landscaping doesn't provide shade, string up a tarp so they can rest under that. A beach umbrella in the yard will work too. Make sure they have lots of water and shade and check on them often while they play
Avoid pavement in the afternoons.  The asphalt can easily get over 100+ degrees on even a moderately hot day and can burn the dog's paws.  Morning and evening walks are the best. Abby will NOT wear booties but they are available to protect the dog's paws.

Abby hates it, but Barkley LOVED his inexpensive kiddie pool.  If we see them on sale we do what former neighbors did and get extra for a few of the young families on the street that have dogs but a tight budget.

*Soak a bandana in cold water, wring out then tie around your dog's neck with the bandana laying it flat across the back.  Just like a cold bandana tied around YOUR neck is cooling, so is this.

Some breeds are more heat sensitive than others, but all pet lovers need to know ways to keep your pet cool in the summer.   You should also educate yourself to signs of heatstroke in your pet.
Talk to your vet or visit some of the Veterinarian supported web pages that contain that information

You also need to watch for signs of dehydration:

sunken eyes,
skin, if pinched at the top of the neck is slow to "snap" back

If you think your dog is slightly dehydrated but they are avoiding their water add a bit of salt-free chicken broth to it, or a splash of carrot juice.  Even floating some pieces of your pet's favorite dog safe fruit (no grapes!) in the water will encourage extra drinking.

If you think the dehydration is more than slight, or they continue to avoid extra water, consult your Vet.
Warning!  Your Lab may melt at higher temperatures.

If your dog needs a little extra help cooling down after playtime, use evaporation to your advantage.  We humans cool off by sweating and then the sweat evaporating.  Dogs don't have a body's surface area to sweat like we people do. They cool off by panting. You can help this a bit by wiping your dog's paws after a walk with warm (not cold water). You can also use a dab of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or cotton cosmetic oval to gently and lightly wipe theirpaws. Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) has a MUCH lower boiling point than water and will then evaporate much more quickly. Don't overdo as it's drying and let each paw dry before going to the next one so the dog doesn't lick it until it's dry.

You can also wipe inside your dog's ears with a soft cloth dipped in cool water then wrung out (make sure it's wrung well to avoid ear infections).  That helps cool those capillaries in the ear area.

Grooming is also important.  I'm not a fan of shaving in the summer as the hair is part of a dog's natural cooling system.  But grooming is essential.  Abby has a thick dark upper coat and a soft reddish undercoat (we think she is part flat-coated retriever)  Those top hairs act as insulation against heat and sunburn and the undercoat is part of her cooling system.  But if it is not groomed it will become mattered and will prevent air flow across your pup's body. Brush your dog frequently to remove any dead fur, which will help them be more comfortable in the warm weather. 

And lastly - don't forget those frozen treats. Abby loves her Frosty Pause which is sugar-sweetened low-fat vanilla yogurt (check that it's not artificially sweetened some of those sweeteners can be fatal to pets) mixed in a blender with a banana and then frozen in little dixie cups.  Peel and serve!. I will also fill up a  single-serving size Tupperware with salt-free veggie broth (no onions or garlic) and let her lick that out on the patio after it has frozen and been removed from the container

So go out and enjoy the sun - just play it safe!


  1. Stay cool! It is about 90 here today so we are chil-axing.

  2. We're fortunate to have central air, so when you walk thru the house you'll find a dog asleep on the vent in each room.

  3. Excellent advice! We walk as early in the morning as possible. "Some" members of the family aren't quite as eager to get out walking as others (CoughMomAndCammieCough), but if we're going by 0630, it's usually OK. Just not real long walks, and shady routes if possible.
    Yours sincerely,
    Margaret Thatcher

  4. Sharing pools to keep pets cool...what a lovely idea. Kudos for sharing. Stay cool.


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on Abby the Senior rescue Lab, who we adopted in 2014.

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