Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cool ways to beat the heat

Summertime and the livin’ is easy, until a heat wave strikes.

The recent weather in the Ottawa area makes it difficult for furry friends to stay cool.

You may think that a backyard pool party or a trip to a local beach that allows dogs is a perfect way to beat the heat, but there are some things to think about before you dive in.

If you’re swimming with your dog, don’t get in over your head. Many dogs will try to climb on their guardian’s head or shoulders when they tire.

Keep a close watch on dogs near pools: an untrained animal will probably head for the nearest edge of the pool to get out, but slippery pool walls do not offer an easy exit. Panic can lead to exhaustion. Barking may be difficult for a dog in the water, making it tough for them to cry for help.

Use a canine life vest or personal floatation device (PFD). A well-fitted canine life vest is an easy way to keep your dog safe on a boat or while swimming in lakes and larger bodies of water. PFDs are made just for dogs and are available at many stores – including the Ottawa Humane Society’s retail store at our new facility at 245 West Hunt Club Road.

A good PFD will have flotation all around your animal’s body, not just along their backs, will be brightly coloured and have a large grab handle along the back of the jacket.

If your dog has never worn a PFD, give them time to get acquainted with it before actually getting on the boat. Get your pet used to the PFD in small steps. Start with wearing it in and around your home, then outside for short walks and finally aboard the boat. Make sure the life jacket fits properly and allow your dog to practice swimming in it.

To keep your dog from swimming too far away, use a long nylon lead. Keep a close watch to make sure your dog doesn’t get tangled in the lead. This is a great way to make sure new swimmers are relaxed and comfortable in the water.

If you can’t head out on the water with your dog, why not keep your friend cool at home with this great beat-the-heat recipe courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States (

Peanut butter popsicles

In a small mixing bowl, combine peanut butter with a little water or half a mashed banana. Line an ice cube tray or cookie sheet with wax paper to make prying the cubes out easier. Spoon the mixture into the cubes, or drop onto the tray just like you would cookie dough.

Freeze. If you need to reuse the tray right away, pop out the cubes and store them in a bag or container in the freezer.

Serve. Turn any hot dog into a happy – and cool – camper. Pet popsicles can be made out of all kinds of things that your dog (or cats) eat normally.

Tip: You can fill up a rubber Kong-style toy and freeze—a great cool-down treat for when you will be away for a few hours.

Pictured at right is the newer style
of canine life jacket, available at
the Ottawa Humane Society, and
below the older style that only
had straps around the torso.

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