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Posted on 07-10-2017
“Rise Above the Weather”
At my family 4th of July cookout this year, a nephew was wearing a sweaty T-shirt from Wimberley emblazoned across the chest with what I at first thought was a uniquely appropriate admonition: “Rise Above the Weather”. Turns out I had misread the word “Water”, referring to the flood of 2015. With the thermometer hovering around triple digits, however, it does behoove us all to take additional precautions for ourselves and our pets.
First off, if possible, stay under the A/C during the heat of the day. This gets harder to do as the “heat of the day” starts to stretch from breakfast to bedtime, but unless you must be outdoors in the middle of the afternoon…. find something productive to do indoors and save that outdoor activity for early or late in the day when our Texas heat isn’t trying quite so hard to kill you. Ditto for your pets – even most committed outdoor types will usually acquiesce to an afternoon siesta in the cool. If they can’t come in, please make sure they have plenty of shade and water.
WATER - holy cow make sure you drink plenty! (And no, beverages that come in cans do not count towards your H2O intake!) If you have to be working (and sweating) outside for extended periods, alternate water with drinks that replace electrolytes. How about a nice bowl of warm slobbery water? No? Well, your pet will also appreciate having a “fresh” drink in the heat of the day as well – good hydration reduces everyone’s chances of requiring treatment for heat-related injuries.
Dress (or undress!) for the occasion. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothes are a must if you must venture out-of-doors during a Texas summer. Conversely, “Rover” and “Fluffy”, regardless of how cute that little dress or jacket may be, are better off naked in the summer heat. One caveat: dogs and cats with sparse and light colored hair coats may benefit from a lightweight shirt to protect their skin from the sun. Better yet, keep ‘em in the shade!
Warm up slowly. On days when it’s already too hot at 7 a.m. to enjoy my coffee on the porch, you can often hear me say “glad I’m not a roofer!” – how DO those guys do it? Well, heat tolerance is not a superpower, so they are surely hot and sweaty, but they’ve probably been working outside since the last time it was tolerably cool (around Valentine’s Day) and have gradually acclimated to warmer, warmer, then hotter and hotter days. There is a name for a fellow who starts his first construction job in July - “workman’s comp claimant”. So don’t expect to be able to sit under the A/C all week then kill it doing outdoor chores on the weekend – it is more likely to kill you! And if “Princess” is generally a couch potato, spending a whole weekend outside in August could be hazardous to her health – find a kennel or a sitter to help her maintain something close to her accustomed lifestyle.
The last couple of reminders are “pet-specific”:
Most of our pets “go barefoot” all year long – so if you are taking a walk on a surface that is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s too hot for your pet’s feet as well. Swerve over onto the grassy shoulder to avoid blisters.
Finally, if Fido of Fluffy are of the brachycephalic persuasion (“smoosh-faced”, like a Persian or a pug), double down on your efforts to keep them cool – their “air exchanger” is less efficient, and that greatly increases their risk of heat-related injury.
So, use your horse sense to get through the dog days of our Texas summer and "Rise Above the Weather". September's surely coming, y'all!
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