16 Jul 16

By Randy Pierce

July Weather has Autumn and me facing 90-degree temperatures for many consecutive days which would mean one hot dog if I wasn’t prepared to take some precautions. While a hot dog may be a fundamental part of America’s summer pursuits, it isn’t a good idea for the Dog Guides or any of our dogs… “frankly!”

Autumn in her harness with her collapsible bowl. In planning my schedule I try to ensure it involves as little time as possible on hot pavement during the prime time heat hours. If this means I have to make extra arrangements for cabs, Uber, Lyft or friends then so be it because my girl’s health is my responsibility. As a shocking example, when air temperatures are at 77, pavement in the sun has measured as high as 125! Rising into the 90 range and we are at risk of burning the paws even for short distances.

She still wants and needs her work and I still have my obligations to attend which means that I supplement the schedule adjustments with some other simple precautions. While dogs do not sweat for their cooling system in the same way our bodies respond, it’s imperative to ensure they have plenty of water. I keep her collapsible bowl on the harness and give her frequent water stops *with* accompanying extra opportunities to relieve herself. That same water that supplies her system can be used to soak her paws and help her keep cool and protected for any short distances on pavement although I still attempt to avoid it and particularly avoid the sunny portions.

Autumn drinking out of her collapsible bowl on a hot day.Ultimately I get her opportunities to work early in the morning before the heat of the day and late evening if it cools sufficiently. I evaluate whether it is unreasonable timing for her during the day and consider allowing her to stay home in the AC while I use my cane if I absolutely must travel outside at the worst times.

Being attentive and aware is the first step but it’s not enough. We all should make the choice to ensure our canine friends are kept safe from the dangers the hot summer sun can present!

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2 Comments.

  • Kathy Rich says:

    What a thoughtful post. I feel like printing it out and taking with me when I go on my daily walks, to hand out to people. I often see people out walking their dogs in the hottest times of the day. The people seem oblivious to any distress the dog might be in. I’ve said something, in a nice way, a couple times, but you never know the reaction you’re going to get.

  • Randy says:

    Thanks for the kind words – it’s difficult to express concern to someone without putting them on the defensive such that any hope of real education is possible. Any attempts to do so which aren’t genuine usually stand out for that lack. I like to try, however, and find reaching for common ground helps. Something like: “I love getting out with my dog too but she’s all balck and the heat is hard on her, what do you do to help ensure your pup isn’t overheating?” – now if the truth is their pup *is* over-heating, they may be analyzing this on the way to their answer with you and the process of helping them think about it may be the best start we can give them. FOllow-up discussion, done right, may lead to the more positive change and ultimately best solutions for the pups in need. No mater how things go for you, I’m glad my blog on this was helpful in some way. It’s been a tough summer for heat here int he northeast and Autumn has had a change as a result.




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