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'Dogs need water': Tips to keep your dog cool during extreme heat

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It may be the first day of summer, but the heat dome hanging over Windsor-Essex is making it feel like the dog days of summer already.

As the mercury rises, our pets are feeling the heat as much as us, including 10-year-old Simba.

“She loves the dog park. When I’m driving here, she’s like barking and she’s super excited and she just wants to come out and play, run,” said Shannon Khan, who was visiting the Malden Park dog park Thursday with Simba, her Border Collie/Jack Russell/Pug mix.

“I'm in the shade at the dog park don't want to be in the heat at all,” said Khan.

In fact, all the pooches Thursday were sticking to the shade.

And that’s where they should be, if outside, according to Melanie Coulter of the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society.

“A lot of dogs do struggle more in the heat than the cold,” said Coulter, who notes that’s because humans sweat and dogs don’t.

“Dogs need to pant and that's the really important thing is they don't sweat. They do have these heavy coats and they need to be able to pant to release that heat energy,” Coulter said.

She advises pet owners consider shifting longer walks to the morning or evening when the temperatures are more tolerable, and if your dog is restless at home, keep it busy in the air conditioning, if possible.

“You can distract them with things like puzzle toys, hide their food around the house, give them some other ways to use their brain and occupied in ways other than their usual walk,” Coulter said.

Aside from the hot air, the pavement is also hot beneath their paws.

“Their paw pads can actually get burned by the hot pavement but, they’re dogs, they're going to be excited and they're going to follow you so it's important for you as the owner to make good decisions for them,” said Coulter, whose single biggest piece of advice is to always have plenty of water on hand.

“Dogs need to have water available to them at all times in this weather and if you're hot, they're probably hot,” she said.

Coulter also reminds pet owners to never leave animals in the car when running errands during extreme heat, adding if you see a dog locked in a car and in distress, call police.

“Being in the car, even for a few minutes can really cause them to overheat and die,” she said. “It's not worth it. It's not worth the risk.”

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