Ok so last month was Memorial Day, the historical beginning of 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 post yesterday when I had as friend remind me it was time for Leo to get her summer groom.

This in it of itself is an important thing to cover… Leo is a Leonberger (great big hairy dirt colored bear of a dog) and my first thought was to completely shave her, she would have to be cooler with less hair right? Well not necessarily, in many cases dogs with long hair, actually use that hair as insulation from the not only the cold of winter but also the heat of summer. So by just willy nilly shaving a dog you might just be making it harder for you 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 loose blowing coat) and simply used trimmers to thin her coat a tinny bit. My groomer was adamant we not shave her and as a (reasonably) intelligent guy I listened to the expert and allowed her to make the call.

So besides a summer time (correct) grooming what are other ways to help our dogs deal with the heat of the summer?

  1. 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.
  2. Access to a little 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 sole) that would spend hours just laying in his pool while the family was outdoors
  3. Cooling jackets, they 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.
  4. 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 your walks for times of the day when it is not super hot! Just like you need to hydrate during hot weather so does your dog? So remember to take enough for both of you!
  5. Do not walk your dog on asphalt or concrete during hot periods. Come on people, we have all made the mistake of trying to walk shoe less across the deck of the pool right? Jokes aside you can cause serious burns to the pads of your dog’s feet by forgetting this important tip.
  6. Never leave a dog inside a car without running A/C!! The inside temp of a care can go from mid 70s to temps above 110 in just minutes. I don’t care how quick your trip is, just don’t risk it!
  7. Talk to your vet about your dogs 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 !!!

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 your dogs outside all of the time and never allow them inside I warn you now, without proper care during hot weather it becomes animal cruelty not animal ownership. Take care of them this summer and if all of this sounds like to much work… might I suggest a goldfish? They make great low maintenance pets !!!!

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