Summers can be brutal for a dog in New York City, and this one has proven to be one of the hottest and most humid in recent memory. The problem is intensified by the fact that air circulation is slower in built up areas, and the sidewalks and buildings become giant heat receptacles, radiating brutal heat in every direction (which is probably why it feels so much hotter toward the end of the afternoon).
So here’s some handy tips and info on keeping your NYC dogs cool this summer.
- Leave the AC on for them while you’re at work. Air conditioning isn’t just for humans! If you’re worried about the cost or environmental impact, keep your unit set to “economy,” or set the thermostat higher than you would normally have it. Dogs are pretty resilient to warm weather but when it’s over 85F it’s important to take the edge off the heat for them. A setting of around 80F is fine, but consider setting it lower for very old or sick dogs. If you don’t have AC then at least use a fan, but make sure it’s safe for dogs.
- Is the sidewalk burning their paws? Try walking a few steps in bare feet. Paws are generally more resistant to heat than human feet, but if you find walking on the sidewalk painful in bare feet then chances are your dog will too. While I wouldn’t recommend booties in hot weather, there is an excellent product called Musher’s Secret. It’s a wax you apply to your dog’s paws and protects them not only from hot sidewalks but also from sidewalk salt in the winter. Every dog owner should have a tin of this handy!
- Always carry a bottle of water with you when walking with your dog in hot weather. If your dog won’t drink from a bottle stream and you find watering them from your hand awkward, consider carrying a collapsible drinking bowl. You can also keep their heads cool by splashing a little water into your hand and rubbing it on them. And if your dog enjoys being sprayed with a hose, you can always ask someone for a quick spray if they’re using a hose to clean the sidewalk!
- Cooling bandanas are also a great way to keep them cool – they’re not just for humans! Just soak them in water for a while and they will stay lovely and cool all day.
- Keep a jug of water in your refrigerator at all times. After a hot walk outside, sometimes the water straight out of the faucet just doesn’t cut it. Your dog will really appreciate a nice cool bowl of water when you get home, and as an added bonus all of that nasty chlorine will have evaporated by the time it’s cold!
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