By Dawn Bright
I have two older, large dogs. They love their walks, but I’m hesitant to walk them in this heat. Do you walk your dogs in the summer? It seems too hot for them.
– Anita M. from Crestview
Dogs do love their walks. I have four dogs and taking a walk is the highlight of their life. But the fact is, they don’t have the knowledge or common sense we have. And, especially with older dogs, it isn’t safe to take them on a walk in the heat of the day. Either do it in the morning or late in the day when it’s cooler. And be sure to take a bowl and water, and offer it to them at least every 30 minutes.
Exposing your dog to high temperatures and prolonged direct sun with intense exercise can lead to heat stroke. Older dogs, dogs with shorter snouts, and dogs battling illness are particularly susceptible. I’d suggest laying off the walks right now and find something else to do that they enjoy. Do they like water? Throwing a ball with the sprinklers going is not only amusing to watch, but keeps the dog cool while having a great time. And have a towel handy—not for them, for you! They’ll get as much exercise shaking off the water as they do running for the ball.
I have a wall clock upstairs in my bathroom that tells me the outside temperature. The battery in the gadget on the porch that gathers that information has been out for months, but do you think I can remember to bring one upstairs? I’m 50 years old. Is this unusual for someone my age?
– Amanda D. from Niceville
This type of forgetfulness isn’t all that unusual, Amanda, and there may be any number of reasons for it. You may not be getting enough sleep, for example. You need sleep to “reboot” your brain. Or it could be a result of a certain medication you’re taking. Being stressed, too much multi-tasking, depression… even something as simple as a vitamin deficiency could be causing the occasional forgetfulness.
But if you’re putting a battery in the dishwasher or forgetting your own name, those may be a sign of something more serious. If memory problems are new to you, or are getting worse, you should probably see a doctor. If the problem isn’t getting worse, focus on getting plenty of uninterrupted sleep, watching your diet, and adding some exercise to your life. Research shows aerobic/cardiovascular exercise helps your brain forge new connections, and can even make new nerve cells. So remember my advice, and good luck!
Summer is my favorite time of year. I want it to drag on, but instead it just seems to fly by. Why?
– Phillip P. from Navarre
I love summer, too. I can hardly wait for Memorial Day weekend, as that’s the start of summer for me. My pool is warm enough to enjoy, the days are getting longer, and everyone seems more relaxed, more laid back and ready to chill! And then all of a sudden it’s Labor Day, which is the end of summer, and boom! Back to the grind.
But it’s really just a mental thing, Phillip. The official start of summer this year was June 21, which was also the longest day of the year. So the days are actually getting shorter all the way to December 22, which is the shortest day of the year. And the other thing is, it’s still super-hot here in September and October. Since it still feels like summer, it makes no sense to get all bummed out on Labor Day.
And one more thing—the more we do, the faster time seems to move. So if you’re busy all summer doing fun activities, all that activity makes it feel like time is flying by. Slow down and do less, and the days will drag on a bit longer. See? It’s all just a mental game. I think I’ll take my own advice and take some time off, slow down, and prolong these long hot summer days.
Dawn Bright is an eternal optimist. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about her. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.