We are moving into the fun and sun of the summer. The fourth of July lead us over the bridge to the deep summer.
The temperatures have been excessively high throughout the country. While we hit the beach, swim in our pools, and sit in our air conditioned homes, our thoughts must turn to our best friends in the world, our beloved dogs.
Consider how heat affects our furry kids.
The heat can and will be as dangerous, if not more, for our pets. They do not have the ability as do we, in deciding how to stay cool. Always remember, it is the human’s responsibility to create a comfortable and refuge from the sun and heat. At the very least sufficient shade needs to be available throughout the day. That means to check where the shade moves throughout the day, don’t assume that being in the shade one part of the day is enough. Of course, we all should know that tying or chaining a dog outside is inhumane and frequently breaking the law, but even in a fenced yard, the issue of shade still prevails. Easy availability of cool water is also a must. There are many types of water’s to keep water fresh without increasing your water bill. A tongue activated water spout can be attached directly to an outside water tap, bowls that refill as the water level lowers, and constantly flowing and filtered water is dispensed in a recirculating waterfall. In many cases, indoors in the air conditioning is the best situation if possible. If your dog has been properly crate trained [ see my article two weeks previous], inside your home is a perfect place to be in intensive heat.
Swimming pools are a wonderful way for us to cool off, but can be a death trap for dogs. Never leave your dog alone in the pool area unattended. A horrifying number of dogs lose their lives in pools. This can not be stressed enough. Yes most dogs can swim, but for how long, have you taught him how to get out of the pool? Would you leave your child alone in the pool area? The same mindset should be used for your dog.
Some dogs have severe difficulty in the heat more than others. Dogs with short muzzles, such as most breeds of Bulldogs, Pekingese, Pug, Japanese Chin, Shih Tzu, Bullmastiff, Brussels Griffon, all have no easy way to cool with such a short passage to the lungs. These breeds deserve to remain inside in a cool, air conditioned area.
Humans have an outdated belief that long coated dogs should get a short, summer cut to keep cool. The dog’s coat actually acts as insulation FROM the heat as does your home insulation. Keep them clean and unmatted, and they will handle the heat much better.
Insect invasions increase greatly in the summer. Fleas have free reign in the heat. Ants, Fire Ants, bees, hornets, and our best friends, the mosquito attack at free will. Tons of pesticides, internal and external treatments are available on the market as well as green or natural products. Talk to your vet or alternative medicine veterinarian and find the best treatment for your situation. Do use a heart-worm preventative year round. Heart-worms are deadly, and the cure is very dangerous also. Prevent any infestation, keep your pet pest free.
Dogs In The Heat Of The Summer
Keep your dog’s activity level lower during the heat of the day, and more activity early morning and late in the day. Black absorbs heat, so keep in mind ,darker coats will get hotter than light. Light colored dogs in particular can become sunburned. Using a sunblock made for babies works well for dogs. Eyes may be sensitive as well, there are many doggy shades available in the market. The question often arises as to why we need to shelter your dog from the sun, since they would have no such luxuries in the wild. This is true, however we do not afford them the natural behavior they would have had in the wild. Instinctual a dog would rest in the shade during the heat of the day, moving and hunting after the air cooled. They wouldn’t travel too far from a stream, nature takes care of itself when man does not interfere.
Our dogs love us with unconditional love, they would do anything for you, please be a responsible pet parent and respect those that love you.
Dogs In The Heat Of The Summer Written by: Carol Pentz
35 years of animal care and training
HeartAndSol American Bulldogs