Dog Days Of Summer

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How does your dog feel about the great outdoors? Are you able to get your pet to stay out in the yard long enough for you to get some vacuuming, mopping or other chores done? If you don’t have a fenced in yard and you have to walk your furry friend on a leash to get some exercise and relieve himself, is it a good long outing or do they appear to be dragging and looking back for their home? Pay attention to the signals they send you.
The answer is usually “it depends” if it’s raining, snowing, nice out or just plain hot. And right now, at least in most of the United States anyhow, it is just plain hot. This can be uncomfortable for you and me but for your pet it can be anywhere between uncomfortable to downright miserable. You can tell just how much discomfort your pet is feeling by the amount of panting going on during your walk. All dogs pant as a way to regulate their temperature. So excessive panting should send you a signal that it is about time to head for home. If you have gone further than you had anticipated, you may want to buy a water to share with your pet to help hydrate him and just find a spot to sit in the shade for a bit before starting back. Be sure to fill their water bowl with fresh cold water when you return home as well to ensure they stayed properly hydrated. You never want to allow your pet to become dehydrated in extreme heat.
Does your pet have long thick hair or a short coat? If it’s long and or thick you would think that shaving it off would help keep them cooler but that’s not the case for pets. The longer, thicker layers of coating actually keep them cooler by insulating the heat away from their body in the summer just as it keeps the cold out in the winter months. Every canine has been created with the right amount of fur for his or her specific breed. Any excess hair that is not necessary during summer months naturally sheds off so there’s no need to remove this yourself. If you shave your furry friend you risk sunburn and possibly skin cancer. Yes, dogs can get this too.

So then why do we need pet groomers? Besides saving you time, they have been trained to know how to remove the shed-able layers without removing the protective ones. Also, if they remove the excess for you, there will be a lot less of it shedding all over your house. But you can  alleviate this problem yourself by bathing your pet and brushing them out as well.  This provides even air flow through the hair creating better cooling. Try to use a good sturdy pet grooming brush that will thin the hair effectively.
So your dog has been groomed properly and if the coat isn’t making my dog pant excessively, what is? Again, the answer is “it depends”. Is your pet a brachycephalic? This would include any flat-faced canine such as a French Bulldog, Pekingese or Pug just to name a few. These breeds can’t pant as effectively as others and are more susceptible to heat stroke. Because of this, you may want to limit the amount of time you have then out in the heat. Others that may need to have limited exposure include any overweight or older dogs since health issues start to expand with these types. And of course pets with any form of lung or heart diseases should be kept inside in air conditioning as much as possible.

Lastly, think back if you’ve ever walked barefoot on the hot asphalt outside, you know how hot it can get. You will also want to keep your pets paws off of the hot asphalt as well. The pads on the bottom of their feet are not shoes, they are simply the bottom of their feet. Try to find a dirt path or grassy area for your walks. If you must be on concrete, try to schedule your walks earlier in the morning before the asphalt heats up or later in the day after it has began to cool back down. Your best friend will thank you for it.