We are at the beginning of the historical summer, and I want to take a minute to talk to you about hot weather precautions for you and your pooch. I started thinking about this topic yesterday when I had Leo at the groomer for her summer groom. Leo is a Leonberger, great big hairy dirt colored bear of a dog. My first thought was to completely shave her, she would be cooler with less hair right? Well not necessarily. In many cases, dogs with long hair actually use their hair as insulation from the summer heat and the winter cold. So by willy nilly shaving a dog you might just be making it harder for your pooch to deal with the heat of summer. In Leo’s case we shaved her belly area, did a Furminator service (to get rid of the loose blowing coat) and simply used trimmers to thin her coat a tiny bit. My groomer was adamant we not shave her and as a (reasonably :) intelligent guy I listened to the expert (the groomer) and allowed her to make the call.
Hot Weather Tips
So besides a summertime grooming, what are other ways to help our dogs deal with the heat of the summer?1. Fresh Water
— access to fresh water 100% of the time. Don’t just fill the water bowl twice a day make sure it is fresh and full all day. If the dog is outside much of the time, this is even more important.2. Access to Shade
— Access to plenty of shade, especially if your dog spends much time outside in the yard during the heat of the day.3. Access to Kids Wading Pool
— This is a great way for dogs to keep cool. In fact I used to have a Malamute (London, rest his huge soul) that would spend hours just laying in his pool while the family was outdoors4. Cooling Jackets
— these are doggy jackets that are filled with a material that holds water. You simply dunk them in water and put them on your dog. The coolness of the water helps keep your dog from overheating. Be sure to periodically check the jacket to see if it needs another dunking.5. Early Morning Walks
— Going on walks in the morning or the evening. Walking in the heat of the day is not good for you or your dog, so try to plan walks for times when it is not super hot. And remember to take lots of water. Just like you need to hydrate during hot weather so does your dog, so take enough for both of you!6. Don’t Walk on Concrete
— Do not walk your dog on asphalt or concrete during hot periods. We have all made the mistake of trying to walk shoeless across the deck of the pool. This can cause serious burns to the pads of your dog’s feet.7. A/C In the Vehicle
— Never leave a dog inside a car without running the A/C!!! The inside temp of a car can go from mid 70s to temps above 110 in just minutes — don’t risk it!8. Talk to Your Vet
— Talk to your vet about your dog’s hot weather abilities. For example “smoosh nosed” dogs do not breath as well as long snouted dogs and are more susceptible to heat stroke! Once again listen and ask the experts (The Vet) for advice!!!
I leave you with one final thought about dogs and dog ownership. Dogs are social animals and do not belong in backyards all of the time. They are pets not shrubbery! If you leave you dogs outside all of the time and never allow them inside, it becomes animal cruelty, not animal ownership. Take care of them this summer and if all of this sounds like too much work, might I suggest a goldfish? They make great low maintenance pets!
Mike Deathe is a stay-at-home dad who found his passion as a dog trainer in 2008. He enjoys identifying unique and useful dog related products and ideas. He is the author of Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) Pet Blog, and has written several books on dogs and dog training. As an avid pet lover, he regularly sees the number of dogs and cats that never find a home, so in 2009, he and his wife Kate founded Muttz “R” Us, a funny t-shirt and pet product company with the motto of “Saving Pets…One T-Shirt at a Time” In 2010 KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (KISS) DOG TRAINING was born and since then has been teaching dogs and owners at Broadmore Kennels, located in Shawnee, Ks. For more information about KISS or Muttz “R” Us Visit us on Facebook, twitter or follow the blog @muttzmembers.blogspot.com
We can’t wait to help you speak dog as a second language.