We have all heard horror stories of pets left in hot cars, but it bears repeating that you should never leave your dog in the car unattended when temperatures get above 70°. When the heat of the summer brings us to shed our heavier clothes in exchange for tanks and shorts to enjoy all that our beautiful area has to offer, think of your pets who lack the ability to do so.
To squash a myth associated with dogs with thick coats, also called double coats, shaving these dogs will NOT keep them cooler. The soft undercoat is designed to naturally shed as temperatures rise, leaving only the top guard hairs which protect your dog from sunburn and insulate him against the heat. Air can then circulate through the guard hairs to cool the skin. Consequently, shaving a dog with a double coat causes the undercoat to grow back first, its purpose being to keep your dog warm in the winter by absorbing the sun’s rays. Ask your groomer to only bathe and blow/comb out the undercoat but not to shave them.
For other dogs, consider a cooling mat or vest. Cooling mats are activated by the pressure of your dog’s body. Active dogs may prefer a vest soaked in cold water that they wear against their chest.
For all dogs, be sure to:
1. Always carry water. –Water bottles with attached cups are helpful to keep your dog hydrated.
2. Let them rest. – Highly active dogs often don’t know when to stop. Monitor them during long periods of activity. Years ago, our 90lb lab collapsed from overheating and we not only had to douse him with all the water we had but also carry him down the hill. It was scary, dangerous, and a lesson learned the hard way.
3. Get them wet. – Either in fresh water or a kiddie pool in the backyard.
4. Our favorite. - Provide an immune boosting, joint enhancing ice cream made especially by Happy Hounds. These highly nutritious treats are made with goats milk and bone broth or fruit that dogs and cats go crazy over, especially during the hottest days of the year. We make these in house year round so that pets always have a healthy affordable treat.
Following these tips can make all the difference to your pet’s well-being. Enjoy the hot days but keep a cool head for the sake of you and your pet.