In the Dog Days of Summer

About the author: Rob Lawrence joined EPA in 1990 and is Senior Policy Advisor on Energy Issues in the Dallas, TX regional office. As an economist, he works to insure that both supply and demand components are addressed as the Region develops its Clean Energy and Climate Change Strategy.

two brown dogs standing near poolAlthough we haven’t hit the record number of consecutive days over 100 degrees this Summer (69 days in 1980), we have experienced over 2 dozen days between 100 and 108 in Dallas. And while most of the human population has the option of going indoors, we need to think of our pets that remain outside after we go to work or to school. Here is a photo of our vizslas (Nebo on the left and Jena on the right) that inspired today’s blog entry.

The most important step is to check out the yard or kennel area that your dog will be staying in. There are general areas of concern: Is there adequate shade to give protection from the sun? If there isn’t a tree providing a canopy, you could stretch a tarp across a corner of the kennel or build a lean-to shelter. Is there plenty of fresh water available? Providing a bucket of clean, fresh water in a shaded area is necessary. A child’s plastic wading pool could be a great spot for your pet to dive in and cool off. Is there good ventilation in the area? I’ve been known to run a small electric fan in the peak of the day if there is not a good breeze in the area. [Note: make sure that the fan and power cord are safely away from your dog’s reach.]

And if you are like me, taking your pets for an outing to the home improvement store and pet supply store on Saturdays is a highlight of their week. Just make sure that you do not leave your dog locked in a sealed vehicle when you run an errand. You would be amazed how quickly the temperature rises inside the car or truck and you are putting your pet’s life in danger. Remember – in some areas, including here in north Texas, it is against the law to put your pet at risk.