Wednesday, July 29, 2009

HOT: Tips on working a Service Dog in HOT Weather

So last week it got up to 106F where I live, which is unusual living in the North West U.S., so I thought I would share a few things I have learned over the years about keeping a service dog happy, healthy and able to work if need be in the heat. (though I'm sure those living in hotter climates will share additional tips)
1. Exercise in the cooler hours, if at all possible conduct your business in these hours.
2. Know the signs of Dehydration
a. To prevent dehydration in my dogs I will:
  • Float their food with water
  • Add electrolyte solution to water bowl and water bottles
  • Offer water frequently though out the day
  • Never shave my double coated dogs, since the coat cools as well as warms.
3. Be ware of hot ground/pavement. Dogs feet can and will burn. I have trained my service dogs to tolerate booties. The only brand I have found that I am capable of putting on my dogs are Muttluks, since they pull on like socks I don't need to be able to stand over my dog will they are standing to get them on.
4. Plan to hide in the air conditioning. Air Conditioning is far from common in private homes here. My favorite places to hide include movie houses, book stores, libraries, malls, and coffee shops.

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