Caring for Dogs During Hot Weather: 3 Summer Don'ts for Dog Owners by Jeffrey Franklin
Dog owners might think they are helping their dogs beat the summer heat or giving them a good time with certain activities, but they may not be. Some things can be harmful to your pets. Here are three don'ts for dog owners:
1. Shaving Long-haired Dogs Because It's Hot
I know hundreds of folks who take their long-haired dogs and shave them for the summer to keep them cool. I suppose that is some cases it works OK. However, I have seen dogs that are shaved get hot much quicker due to not being used to having their skin that exposed to direct sun. It reminds me of my first experience working near the equator, and I was unaware and didn’t know nor ask about sun safety. I got sun poisoning within the first few days because, even though it was only 70 to 80 degrees outside, my skin was not conditioned for this type of sun exposure.
If you are shaving your dog for the summer, give their skin time to accumulate to all and use sunscreen. If you think this is a fix all for dogs, know that in the heat, especially direct sun, dogs (maybe most mammals) are not intended to live and or work in sun for extended amounts of time. So many people do not think about dogs getting sun burned and the long-term side effects as well. There are some times when I see dogs getting shaved late in the year, and now we have a dog with a naturally long and probably double coat almost hairless as winter arrives. Remember, these thick, longer coats do not grow back overnight.
2. Dogs Swimming
Salt, chlorine and pond waters all have side effects for dogs. Depending on the type of dog and the overall conditions of the weather and water, beware. I urge extra caution with salt water, as it will get swallowed, causing diarrhea and/or vomiting. Next, the salt needs to be washed off the hair and skin, because it will dry them out and cause issues over time (much like we need to do for ourselves after playing in the ocean). Pools are great, but again, with chlorine and/or salt-based pools, we need to be cautious with the amount of sun exposure, getting the water off after and not to overdo it with our pups that would jump into the water to play and or retrieve all day long. They need mandatory breaks at times, much like some kids would.
Pond or lake waters are often the better type, being more natural for the dogs. However, they are still sometimes stagnant (especially ponds), and dogs will need a cleaning afterwards (if for nothing else but the smell). Stagnant, smaller bodies of water also tend to be breeding and living grounds for internal parasites, bacteria, mosquitoes other unwanted insects (not to mention other animals). For me, these small pond-like areas are a no-go for my dogs. Many dogs have had some injuries while swimming when mixing it up with snakes, turtles and other critters that live in or around waters. I try to be mindful of this, keep an eye out and do my best to keep my dog away from other animals in or around the water (actually the same everywhere, neighborhoods, hiking, stores, etc.).
While are dogs are exercising and playing in and or around water, keep in mind hazards such as fish hooks, fishing lines, garbage, debris, leftover human food and animal carcasses (especially fish). Dogs will eat just about anything, disgusting to us or not, and oftentimes it’s not good for them.
3. Dogs in Vehicles
If your dog is with you on a road trip, be sure to have the air conditioner running. Don’t keep your dog in the back of a truck. They need shade and to have available water while being in a vehicle.
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