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The Ruff Report: Simple ways to keep pets comfy in hot weather

Pet parents can take some simple actions to help their dogs better cope with hot weather, an animal welfare official says.

Careful planning of outdoor activities, such as walks and hikes, and proper grooming can go a long way toward keeping your dog comfortable in hot weather, says Gail Furtado, president of Forever Paws Animal Shelter in Fall River, Mass.
"Either go for walks early morning or later evening when it is cooler, Ms. Furtado told in an interview. "Swimming is a good summer day activity, as long as your dog knows how to swim (not all dogs know how to swim)."

During the hottest parts of the day, pets should avoid exercise and they should be keep indoors, preferably in a cool room, Ms. Furtado said. "Having an area inside the home that is air conditioned is ideal. Having plenty of fresh water available is important."

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And she also has a tip to help keep active pets occupied while they are confined to the house. "Keep your dog busy in your home with nose work," Ms. Furtado said. "Hide some treats in boxes or paper bags and have them sniff around to find them. This keeps their minds busy. Kong toys are also a good tool to keep a dog's mind busy while being indoors."

Proper grooming can also play and important role in keeping a pet comfortable in hot weather, Ms. Furtado explained. "Getting your dog's coat ready for the summer and winter do vary. In the summer, a dog is thinning out their coat and shedding. Keeping them bathed and brushed will maintain their summer coat. Grooming a long-haired dog to a shorter cut will help to keep the dog cooler."

However, pets should never be shaved down, because, like people, they are susceptible to sunburn if their skin is exposed, Ms. Futado said. "UV rays can cause sunburn in dogs, too."
Ms. Furtado also says seasonal allergies can be a big problem for some pets during the warmer months of the year. She recommends consulting with a veterinarian if you notice your pet scratching at its back, tail and ears; licking or chewing its paws; or if its skin looks red or scabby. Other allergy symptoms can include runny eyes, sneezing and wheezing.


The Ruff Report is a column that appears on, a blog written by Joseph A. Reppucci, a retired editor from The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts. Mr. Reppucci worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years. He is the author of the book, The Hunt of Her Life, a heartwarming story about his once-in-a-lifetime rescue dog. Find it on


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