The beautiful summer weather tempts many of us to spend more time outdoors, with our happy pets enthusiastically joining us for whatever activities we have in mind. It's a great time of year to get out and enjoy some extra exercise and fresh air; but our pets might need a little help in keeping safe and cool. Here are a few readily-available, practical pet products that can help your pets enjoy their summer even more.
Dogs can easily get hot and thirsty while walking or hiking in the summer, even if it's done early in the day or in the evenings when it's not quite as hot. A portable water bowl comes in handy - instead of trying to cup your hands to create a bowl for your pup, or attempting to squirt some water into his mouth, a portable water bowl makes it more convenient to give your thirsty dog a drink. These bowls are often collapsible when not in use to make them easy to carry around.
Lots of dogs love to play in the water or go boating with their families. Contrary to popular belief, though, not all dogs know how to swim, let alone swim well. Keep them safe with a dog life jacket. Look for one with a handle that can be used to help them out of the water; reflective straps and/or bright colours for visibility; and comfort features, like wide straps. A chin-float is handy to help keep the dog's head above water.
Both humidity and heat can put dogs at higher risk for dehydration and heatstroke. Add in exercise, and dogs can very easily overheat in the hot temperatures of summer. A cooling vest keeps the dog cooler through evaporation (like sweating does for people). Most vests require you to soak them in cold water before putting it on your dog. They'll need to be wetted down again if they go dry in order to reactivate the cooling effect. Another type of cooling vest has removable / replaceable cooling inserts. Once again, you wet them down before inserting them into the vest. Great for those summer hikes!
A cooling mat is similar to the cooling vest, except that your dog doesn't wear it, he lies on it. There are several varieties - some require that you soak the mat in cold water first (squeeze out the excess); it then provides a cooling effect through evaporation. Other varieties work in approximately the same way, only they use inserts that you soak first. There are also cooling mats that you literally fill with water - think of it as a mini water-bed for your dog! And finally, there are cooling mats that use a special gel. These are pressure-activated and do not require soaking.
A water fountain make drinking more appealing to pets by constantly circulating the water, keeping it fresher. It encourages pets to drink more - a good thing on hot summer days! The added benefit is that many drinking fountains hold a lot of water so you don't have to worry as often about the bowl running dry. Look for a fountain that's easy to take apart and clean. Most have filters that will catch debris (like food crumbs, pet hair, etc) to help keep the fountain and the water clean. Elderly dogs may appreciate a fountain that's slightly elevated in height.
There are also many other ways of keeping your dog cool in the summer, including offering him a tasty, frozen treat. Have fun together, and stay cool!
"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."