Hot Dog! Tips for the Dog Days of Summer   Leave a comment

Happy Fourth of July!

 

If your dog isn’t usually a digger but ruins the yard in the summer, the problem is most likely the heat.  Dogs dig into the soft, moist earth as a way to stay cool.  These hot, hot days are just as brutal for dogs as they are for us.   On the other hand, if you have a dachshund, terrier, or similar breed that was bred to hunt vermin underground, they’re just exercising their natural instincts.

Make sure your pet has shelter and plenty of water.  If you have a long-haired breed, a black dog, a brachycephalic (squished face) breed, or one that was bred for much cooler climates such as the Husky, indoors is  the best place for them.

Brachycephalic (squished face) breeds such as pugs and English bulldogs cannot cool themselves effectively due to the shortness of the muzzle.  Remember, dogs don’t sweat.  (They do have some sweat glands on the bottom of their feet, but not enough for sweat to constitute much of their cooling system.)  Heat strokes are common in these dogs.  Be sure to keep them inside or only let them out for very short periods when the temperature rises.

Thinking he needs a shave?  While it’s tempting to shave down a hairy pooch in the summer, it’s not always a good idea.  Hair and fur coats actually help insulate from the heat as well as hold heat in.  They also protect vulnerable skin from the sun and help keep it from drying out.  Unfortunately, lots of fur also makes parasites like ticks harder to find.  Some breeds “blow coat”, or shed badly during the spring and summer to release the undercoat they put on for insulation in the winter.  If frequent grooming isn’t possible for you and you must shave Fido down, remember, a shaved dog is an indoor dog.

Nothing holds pet dander and dust mites like upholstery.  If your pooch has a favorite chair or couch, try throwing a sheet or specially made pet blanket over it so that you can launder it regularly.

Sweeping borax into cracks and crevices on the floor or letting it sit on your carpet and dog bedding before vacuuming will keep flea eggs at bay.  Check your entire dog daily (or more, in some areas) for ticks, especially under droopy ears and around the collar.  Natural repellents containing essential oils like clove and citronella (not Deet!) are helpful preventatives.  In some areas, or when infestations are already present, these steps may not be enough.  Talk to your vet about stronger forms of pest control.  Don’t forget to mention that you are concerned about pesticides in the environment and ask for the most effective, but least toxic product.  Please don’t spray pesticides on your yard.  Not only are yard sprays ineffective at keeping pests off your dog, but they also kill beneficial insects and ultimately end up in our water supply.

Finally, the Fourth of July is great fun for you, but rarely for your dog.  More dogs go missing on this night than any other night of the year.   The repeated thunder from fireworks can be terrifying, and a panicked dog can and will do things you wouldn’t expect.  Keep your dogs indoors to keep them safe.  Even outdoor dogs can be brought into the garage.  A kennel is not only more comforting for your dog, but it can give you peace of mind that your house and your dog are safe.  Lastly, be sure all of your pets are wearing current ID’s, just in case.

Happy Fourth!

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Posted June 29, 2011 by wellmaid in Uncategorized

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