Pets can suffer heat injury when their body temperature exceeds the ability to cool themselves. The normal body temperature for a dog is between 100° and 102.5° and when it exceeds 106° serious medical conditions can ensue.
Oftentimes, keeping our pets indoors with air conditioning or in a well-ventilated area is the best option, particularly in the heat of midday.
These days, with temperatures souring into three digits, it’s tough for your pooch to stay outdoors for a long periods of time, especially when they prefer to be outdoors “helping” you to garden.
Keep your backyard safe and cool for your pooch:
- Plant a tree! This can be a great idea for many reasons. First and foremost, trees clean the air and provide shade to cool down our homes and yards, naturally. There are, however, certain trees to avoid because they are toxic to pets: Horsechestnut (Buckeye), Apple, Crabapple, Peach, Plum, Apricot, Cherry and Coffee Trees, to name a few.1
- Acquire a trampoline! Perhaps your trees are sparse. Until the tree’s canopy is mature enough to provide ample shade, you might want to purchase a used trampoline. Not only a fun addition to your outdoor space, it may offer a multi-purpose solution for your pooch to cool down during hot summer days.
- Always provide fresh, clean, cool water. This might seem like common sense, however many dog owners leave the water bowls out and the water evaporates, gets kicked over or is not clean. Some dogs will choose not to drink it.
- Water features offer a great solution. Water features can be hooked up to a sprinkler system so that fresh, cool water is always available for your pooch. A water feature can be as simple as a boulder with a hole in it that pumps water into an elaborate pond and waterfall.
- Do not leave dogs on the deck. If a dog is left unattended on a deck, he could literally roast. He might also slip through the railing and fall to the ground. If your deck is wood, be sure to sand it smooth. Humans don’t generally walk barefoot on a deck and we may not realize that they have splinters, which can hurt a dog’s paws.
- One low maintenance option is to choose a composite material, such as Trex® Decking, which does not heat up or require sanding. This is an environmentally friendly product as no trees are cut down to create Trex®, which is made from 50 percent recycled plastic and 50 percent reclaimed wood. According to the manufacturer, Trex Company is the one of the largest plastic bag recyclers in the United States, keeping about 300,000 tons of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills per year.
The key to having a pet friendly yard is to keep it safe for your pooch. He can enjoy being outside with you as long as precautions are taken to keep him hydrated, cool and protected.
Elizabeth Bublitz is an animal friendly gardening expert, author and owner of Pawfriendly Landscapes. http://twitter.com/Pawfriendly
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