Summer has definitely arrived, and since dogs don’t sweat, at least not the way we do, it is important to help keep your dog cool. Dogs that are left unattended in back yards face danger every day of their lives, but the “dog days” of summer pose a particularly dangerous threat to these “backyard” dogs. If you drive around your neighborhood, you will see many penned up or chained dogs suffering in the heat. As responsible pet caregivers, we acknowledge that it is inhumane treatment, but we seem to look the other way and are silent, and just accept the many excuses made for keeping a backyard dog. Animals are considered “property” in the eyes of the law, and some people view their dogs as “possessions.” Others just shrug and say that people have always kept dogs that way. Some simply don’t want the animal in the house and resort to a chain to prevent him from running away, and many are just tired of the responsibility of adequately caring for a dog, or are not willing to deal with behavior problems, so simply stick him in the back yard. Dogs depend on their humans for everything: food, water, grooming, medical care, exercise, companionship and love, and if all of those cannot be willingly provided, another home should be found for the animal.
One way in which you can help is to talk to the caregivers of these forgotten animals about a dog’s urgent needs in warm weather, and urge them to let their dogs inside during the heat waves. Perhaps they have not even considered the dangers of leaving a dog outdoors when the temperatures soar. Be willing to get involved without being judgmental. Don’t get belligerent or condescending. Maybe you could offer to walk the dog, or find another home for him. If you have no success with that approach, and feel the dog is in immediate danger, contact law enforcement.
A simple way to make any hot dog’s day cooler is making her a giant dog Popsicle filled with raw baby carrots or apple slices, and other treats. Add your creation to a large ice cream bucket or pail that you have half-filled with water, and freeze. When frozen solid, just pop the Popsicle out and give it to the dog. Finding a ball, a twisted rope toy, or dog treats will break the boredom that a tied or penned up dog feels. Other ingredients that can be used are chicken or beef broth added to the water for flavor, green beans, or small chunks of cheese. You can make up frozen goodies in ice-cube trays and then once they are frozen, add them in their cubed size to the giant dog Popsicle mixture. (For safety, do not add plastic toys or toys with sharp edges).
Another easy-to-make frozen treat that is great for keeping any dog cool is Frozen Banana-Peanut Butter Ice Cream Treats. (These are messy, so serve in an easy-to-clean-up place.)
Frozen Banana-Peanut Butter Ice Cream Treats
- Mix 32 ounce carton of plain yogurt, 1/2 cup peanut butter and 3 (or 4) ripe bananas, peeled and mashed.
- Blend all three ingredients in a blender or food processor. (If you don’t want to bother with a food processor, just mush up the mixture…it will be lumpy, but the dogs won’t care!)
- Pour into 4 ounce plastic cups. Freeze until firm; then pop out and serve. If you have a small dog, put the mixture in an ice cube tray (or if you don’t have any trays, just pour some of the mixture into a plastic zippered bag and break up when you’re ready to serve)
- In a few hours, your doggie ice cream is ready to serve!
What’s more refreshing than a cool treat on a hot day? Frozen treats can help anyone, two legged or four legged, beat the heat!