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Dog Cooling Vests – Great for Summer

It’s hot this summer and it doesn’t hurt to have a variety of ways to cool down your pooch. If you’re out for longer walks or taking a hike, it’s great to use a dog cooling vest.

How does it work?

Typically you dip in water (preferably cold water), wring dry and it helps to cool down your dog. Remember, most of your dog’s sweat glands are located around its paw pads. Dogs don’t really have sweat glands on on their torsos, so the cooling vest brings that cooling action like sweat would for humans. If the cooling vest is dipped in cold water, all the better.

Here are 2 great Dog Cooling Vest options:

All linked for easy shopping

ruffwear swamp cooler Ruffwear “Swamp Cooler” Cooling Vest for Dogs
The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler uses natural evaporative cooling to keep your dog cool. Soak it in cold water, wring it out, and fasten around your dog. Evaporative cooling exchanges the dog’s heat as water evaporates from the coat’s reservoir. It’s light color is designed to reflect heat from the sun.
Hurtta Dog Cooling Vest
Dip in cold water – wring dry – cool down! Cools and gives your dog a feeling of comfort on hot days. Protects the heart region and chest, vital for circulation. This cooling vest has double the absorption capacity in comparison with terry cloth coats.

 

Dog Anxiety from Thunder or Fireworks?

thunderWith July 4th right around the corner, you might be worried about how your best friend will do with all the firework sounds.

Hurricane season has also started and we’ve already experienced some lightning and thunder which can be scary for your dog too!

Dog anxiety is always worrisome for a pet parent. Clearly you want to appease your dog, but often they will just hide and shake. Many dogs flee, which is why July 4th is the #1 day in which pets get lost and end up in shelters.
Dog anxiety

What can you do to help out your dog during July 4th and Hurricane Season?

1. Keep your dog inside during fireworks or thunderstorms, preferably with human companionship.
2. Provide a safe place inside for your dog to retreat. When scared of sounds, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. We highly recommend using a crate (see our article on the Dog Crate) and perhaps putting a blanket over the crate.
3. Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day – a tired dog is a happy dog.
4. Keep the windows and curtains closed.
5. Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. They should also be micro-chipped just in case they are lost and brought to a shelter.
6. Distract your dog by giving him a bully stick to chew on or an interactive food toy (see our article on Treat Dispenser Toys).

Thundershirt camo

Thundershirt in Camo

Try Out the ThunderShirt – a medicine free solution!

If you haven’t tried one before, we recommend trying a ThunderShirt to help your dog with anxiety.

How does ThunderShirt work? Pet experts believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system, possibly by releasing a calming hormone like endorphins. The ThunderShirt’s gentle, constant pressure relaxes most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or overexcited. Just to be clear, this does not mean you can hug your dog and get the same results – a hug from a shirt/wrap is different from a hug from a person.

ThunderShirt has conducted surveys on over 2,000 customers and over 80% of dogs showed significant improvement in symptoms when using a ThunderShirt.

ThunderShirt comes in a variety of colors, so even if your dog is anxious, he can now be extra stylish in a ThunderShirt. We love the new camo / orange color for our male dog!

Hot Weather Tips for Your Dog

summer dog

It’s great to spend time with your dog outside. Just remember to take some simple precautions to help prevent your dog from overheating during the hot weather. Here are our Hot Weather Tips for Your Dog:

Hydrate

Make sure to bring water with you – not just for yourself, but also for your dog. Check out these water bottles for dogs.

Shade

Look for a shady place for your dog so they can get out of the sun and cool down.
water bottle

Street Smarts

When the temperature is high, don’t let your dog walk on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly, and its sensitive paw pads can burn.

Not sure if it’s hot? Well if it’s too hot for your foot, it’s probably too hot for your dogs. Press the back of your hand firmly against the asphalt for 7 seconds to verify it will be comfortable for your dog. The last thing anyone wants is for your dog to burn his paws.

ruffwear cooling coat

cooling coat

If you live in an area where the ground is always scorching hot, consider getting your dog some dog booties for hot weather.

Exercise

Try to exercise dogs in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are lower. If your dog quickly overheats, you might want to try out a cooling coat.

Water Activities

Dogs, like people, often love to get wet when it’s hot outside. Make sure to introduce your dog to water gradually and don’t leave them unsupervised around a pool as not all dogs are good swimmers and they should not drink pool water, which can be toxic.

Summer dogDogs should wear a flotation device when on boats (just like us humans do). Never take your dog to the beach unless you can provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for them to drink. Consider having your dog wear doggles to protect their eyes.

Remember to rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from their coat.

Sunscreen

sunscreen for dogsSunburn is a hazard for pets who spend time outdoors. Use a pet-safe sunscreen to protect your dog from the sun’s harming rays, which can cause skin cancer especially of the ears and nose. Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog – the layers of dogs coats can protect them from sunburn.

Warning Signs

If you find your dog excessively panting or just not wanting to exercise or walk as they normally would, your dog might be overheating. Try to get them out of the sun and preferably in an air conditioned room asap.

Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car!!!

NEVER leave your animals (or children) alone in a parked vehicle. A parked car can become an oven and easily lead to fatal heat stroke for pets and children. Please keep them at home if you can’t bring them with you.

Now that you have the tips – go outside with your best friend and enjoy a great, safe summer!

How to Help your Dog with Mosquitoes

“Dear Dogsized, My father’s border collie is constantly harassed by mosquitoes. Are there any dog-safe products for Charlie? – Kiku”

dog-mosquitoMosquitoes are definitely a problem for dogs! Not only do mosquitoes harass and bite dogs (as they do humans), mosquito bites can result in everything from an annoying itch to more serious parasitic diseases. Mosquito bites are also a primary cause of heartworm in dogs. If your dog has more hair (e.g. a chow) then they have more natural protection than say a bit bull or “bully” breeds. Regardless, those areas that show more skin e.g. nose, ears, eyelids, abdomen, groin and inside the legs are more prone to getting mosquito bites (and can also get sunburn).

There are plenty of things you can try to change in your environment to reduce the amount of mosquitoes, for example, avoiding stagnant water, using products containing oil of sandalwood or citronella and staying inside, especially in the early morning and early evening, when mosquitoes are most active.

Mosquito Repellent for Dogs

flys offTo protect your dog, do NOT use human mosquito repellents containing DEET on dogs. Instead, look for repellents formulated especially for pets that contain either permethrins or pyrethrins. Here are some dog mosquito repellent products for your dog to try:
Flys Off Spray
Flys-Off Fly Repellent Ointment
Pet Naturals of Vermont Protect Flea & Tick Repellent Spray
All Terrain Natural Pet Herbal Armor Insect Repellent Spray
Even if you use a mosquito repellent, make sure your dog is taking a heartworm preventative, such as Heartgard Plus, and also a topical treatment and prevention of ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, biting flies, and lice, such as K9 Advantix II.(see also our article on Advantix vs Frontline).

Mosquito Bite Treatment

Luckily there are some solutions to help your dog if he does get bitten. Treat bites with an antibacterial cream (e.g. Neosporin) to keep them from becoming infected. To help with the itchiness, you might also want to try Sulfodene or a Pet Hydrocortizone (Zymox).
Please see your veterinarian if the bites appear very large (i.e. possibly something in it) or if they do not heal or appear to be getting worse.