Summertime is finally upon us here in Wisconsin! For me and my family, this means swimming at the lake, playing soccer and baseball, having squirt-gun fights, and enjoying time outside.
It also means finding ways to beat the heat when summer temperatures rise. In those hot, “dog days” of summer, don’t forget that your pet might need extra ways to stay cool, too!
Go for walks
Walks are an excellent way to stay active with your pet, but boy can it get hot! Try going for an early morning walk before temperatures rise. Not only will it be cooler, but you may also get lucky and see more wildlife in the cooler morning temperatures.
If you’re a night owl, then walk later in the evening. Be sure that you and your pet wear reflective clothing, and bring a flashlight if you are going to be out when it’s dark.
Many towns have dog-friendly parks or lake areas that allow dogs to have designated swim times. Search your local area to find parks that allow doggy swim time. Please keep in mind that other dogs and people will be there, too, so if your dog has anxiety issues or does not enjoy a crowd this might not be the best option.
Make your own water park
Can’t find a pool or park that allows dogs to swim? That’s ok…make your own water park at home! Small kiddie pools can be fun for dogs to splash around or even just lie in to beat the heat.
Or, try some sprinkler fun. Whether it’s chasing the water or running through at full speed, your dog can cool off with the garden hose. Feel free to be a kid again and run through the sprinklers with your pup!
Find a shady spot
If just relaxing is more of your summer activity, then head outside and find a shady spot to share with your pet. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to do anything other than enjoy time with your pet. Keep in mind that even in the shade, you and your pet still need to keep hydrated and protect yourselves from possible sunburn.
Enjoy a cool treat
People love popsicles as cool summer treats. Why not make some popsicles for your pets, too? Try freezing low-sodium chicken or beef broth in ice cube trays. You could also use bone broth or even goat’s milk to make your “pup”sicle.
Make sure that you don’t use ingredients your pet may be allergic to and skip the stick. We don’t want your pup to choke on anything.
Cats can also join in the fun! Try freezing water with a little bit of tuna juice (the water-based, not oil-based) and offering it for a nice summer treat.
Crank up the air conditioning and relax
Outdoor activities aren’t everyone’s (or every pet’s) favorite thing, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with turning up the air conditioning and cuddling up on the couch. You and your pet can watch that movie you’ve been dying to see!
Summertime means more time with family and more family memories, pets included! Whether you are an active family, an outdoorsy family, or a “let’s stay inside” family, there are many ways for everyone to beat the heat this summer.
Dr. Heintz is a small and exotic animal veterinarian at Countrycare Animal Complex in Green Bay, WI. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. Her passion is helping all animals, whether furry, scaly, or feathered, lead long and healthy lives.