Caring for Your Dog During Crazy Weather Patterns
We can’t advise it enough; Don’t let your dog cool off by hanging his head out of your moving vehicle. As much as your dog might seek relief from the heat, don’t waver in your dog's parenting behaviors. What might seem like a good idea can turn catastrophic in an instant? The Beach Dog strongly suggests you consider the dangers before allowing this behavior.
Reactive Jump: some dogs are reactive to stimuli of all kinds, a bird, another dog, a human, or just anything that moves. Some people assume their dog will be smart enough to stay put if the vehicle is moving. Not necessarily true.
The Surprise Jump: Many dog owners have stated that this jump was unexpected, that their dog has been enjoying an open window for years, and has never made any type of effort to react in any way beyond the tongue trailing behind them. They call it an accident because it’s unexpected.
Debri & Eye Damage: Although less problematic there is a risk of debri striking your dog. More importantly, damaging your dog's eyes. The diameter of the cornea of a dog is larger than a human’s resulting in a larger iris. A dog’s pupil dilates to a larger diameter than a person’s and the lens measures three-to-four times that of a human. A serious eye injury is very much a risk factor for a dog with their head out of a moving vehicle.
Accidents Happen: The Beach Dog has voiced the opinion on tethering a dog, with a harness, safely within a vehicle to prevent a dog from becoming a projectile. This is a safety precaution not only in the event of a car accident but from an assertive stop as well. Because of the way a dog sits, he is at a higher risk when driving in a vehicle, of becoming thrown about. Consider a dog that is hanging out the window in the case of an accident or abrupt stop. Always harness on a short tether.
To tether or not to tether should not be the question when making the decision to allow your dog to enjoy a cool breeze out the vehicle window. The sad truth is there are many documented cases when tethered dogs jump and hang themselves. Even on a short tether. Tethering does not make a dangerous activity less dangerous. Disallowing the behavior makes the behavior less dangerous. For more information on the rules and regulations pertaining to tethering a dog securely in a moving vehicle read this article on Dogs and Distracted Driving. The Beach Dog stands firmly in the opinion that no matter how hot the weather may get, we do not recommend allowing a dog to hang their head out of a moving vehicle. Even though Fido might like the idea, don’t change your perception on these crazy hot days. Take extra precautions when caring for your dog during crazy weather patterns. Keep your dog securely fastened in a harness, on a short tether, and the window up with the ac on.
The temperatures don’t seem to be giving us a break any time soon. Here are a few tips to take extra precautions when caring for your dog during crazy weather patterns, and the relentless heat we have been enduring.
If you have access to air conditioning, limit your dogs ‘outside time’ and allow them the comfort indoors.
During outside time make sure your dog has access to shade.
Always have plenty of fresh water available, never leave a water bowl empty.
Most dogs love an ice cube. We freeze water in plastic containers up to a quart for lots of licking and crunching. After the container is frozen solid, pop it out and let them have it. If your dog seems disinterested in the ice, try freezing his or her favorite toy into the ice cube. You can also influence interest in an ice cube treat by adding taste, like broth or yogurt. Be cautious of sodium. See our Blog on DIY Frozen Dog Treats
If you are geographically located near a lake or pond make an effort to take a trip for a cool dip. If a body of water isn’t an option, purchase a kitty pool. If a kiddy pool is not an option try a sprinkler or a good old fashion play session with the hose.
Lastly don’t forget that the high temperatures have been heating pavement and walkways above and beyond what is tolerable for your dog's paw pads. Be diligent in keeping your dog off the pavement during hot days. Even a short walk can burn their paw pads. Schedule Fido’s walk in the early morning or late afternoon.
Heatwave precautions put to the side, now let’s talk about these severe thunderstorms we have been experiencing. Some dogs are extra sensitive to thunderstorms in more ways than one. Some are triggered by noise and ultra-sensitive ears, some may experience cortisol increases, some are triggered by a sense of smell, and some are sensitive to drops in the barometric pressure, and who knows, maybe your dog is triggered by all of the above. What is important here is knowing how these storms affect your dog, and acknowledging that these storms are persistent, and the persistence can be a lot of stress for your dog. While there is no way to cure ‘storm phobia’ in dogs, there are ways to lessen the stress. Caring for your dog during crazy weather patterns starts with acknowledging your dog has it, understanding that their experience is heightened by daily storms, and knowing how to take extra precautions.
Never leave your dog outside
Allow your dog to go to their safe place: their bed, their crate, some even prefer the bathtub.
Try a noise deterrent such as a TV, fan, or calming music in the background.
Stay present with your dog, calmly pat, touch, and talk to them. Always reassuring them they are ok.
As a dog owner, it’s important to take good care of your dog. They depend on our human guidance and rely on us for safety. You are the leader of their pack. It’s very important that during crazy weather patterns, you remain consistent with your dog's routine. And know this, there’s a very high probability that your normal routine will need extra attention and effort as our weather patterns seem to get more severe. Your dog might need extra coxing for outside bathroom breaks during rain storms. This might mean they refuse to go out at their ‘normal time.’ But it will mean you need to be hypervigilant to let them out as soon as there is a break in the rain. When we are experiencing high heat for days on end, make sure the water bowl is filled at all times. On normal days you might only fill your dog's bowl two-three times a day, but during a heatwave, your dog might need to double the amount of h2o.
Typical walk schedules may need to be tweaked to avoid hot pavement, perhaps push the walk time off to later in the day or earlier in the morning.
And yes, if your house rule is no dogs in the kitchen, and you're experiencing record heat, it’s ok to let Fido cool off on the cold tiles. Just be sure to explain it’s temporary and not to get too used to it. Rule breaking just might be ok to take extra precautions when caring for your dog during crazy weather patterns, but make sure rule breaking isn’t unhealthy or harmful.