Summers are here. Along with the sweltering heat come the scratching and the sweating. Well, these are not problems that only humans have to deal with, but also our beloved furry creatures. We at least have an opportunity to express our discomfort. We might even be able to find a way to keep ourselves cool. But what about our pets? These cute mute animals are helpless in the sun. The heat is far more uncomfortable for them as they are so much more hairy than humans and that just aggravates the problem. Not only that, the heat and the accompanying dryness could also be an open invitation to infections, which could cause incessant itchiness and requires immediate medical attention. We as owners need to take special measures in the hot weather to ensure our pet dogs remain healthy and happy even during these few months. One of the foremost tasks is keeping them well-hydrated.
One must make sure the dog has a sufficient water intake at all times. Dogs get easily dehydrated in the summers due to the constant panting. Their thirst also increases in summers as compared to the rest of the year. Their water bowls should be refilled at regular intervals and kept full at all times. Another option is to keep their coat trimmed. Excessive hair means that they the heat lingers in their body and has difficulty in escaping. Breeds like golden retrievers and German shepherds need special care.
Especially dogs that are suited to colder climates such as St. Bernard or huskies should be shaved to help them in keeping cool. It is a misconception that dogs shy away from water. Especially in summers dogs love to get wet. The frequency of baths in summers for your dogs should be increased just as humans also feel the need to take baths frequently. Because of the heat the tendency for ticks in a dog’s hair also significantly rises. Regular bathing not only combats this, but also decreases the possibility of dryness, rashes and infections. If possible, one can let their dog wade in swimming pools or play with water sprinklers. Dogs become particularly fond of mud in the hot weather. That is the most easily available source of coolness for dogs.
One must try to let their dog dig a hole in their lawn. It is just trying to find a place for it to stay cool. If possible, the owner himself can take the lead and allot a part of the lawn where the dog is allowed to play in the mud. The dog’s walk time should be adjusted so that the day’s temperature is at its lowest during these times, that is, early morning and late evening. The dog would also be more comfortable and attracted to the prospect of going for a walk when it knows the weather outside is favorable. At the same time one must try to walk the dog on cooler surfaces, even mud is an option. Just as we would ideally not walk barefoot on hot paved surfaces or roads, dogs too feel the scorching heat. Walking on mud is messier but is a convenient option for the dog’s comfort.
On returning from the walk, the dog’s paws must be thoroughly washed to reduce chances of infestation and to keep the house clean. In summers, a dog should be provided with a cool dry place to sleep. Preferably it should be given a place in a room with air-conditioners or coolers to ensure it remains cool. Some people tend to keep their dogs out of AC bedrooms, this should be avoided. The practice of locking them out of the house in the balcony should be completely eliminated especially during afternoons. This is not only uncomfortable for them, but also makes them feel unwanted. There are certain kinds of special beds available in the market for dogs, which can be filled with cold water at the base.
This ensures your dog stays cool while it sleeps too. This is particularly required in summers as the frequency and duration of naps for a dog increases with increase in temperature. Regular veterinary checkups should not be compromised upon during the summer months. This is essential for updated information regarding medical dos and don’ts and to ensure the dog is healthy during the harsh weather. Giving the dog regular massages, especially after walks, is another effective way to tackle the effects of summer. Massages increase blood flow, which consequently aid in reduction of lethargy among dogs. Not to mention, that is the easiest way to calm them down. When one sees their dog panting more than usual, a few drops of cold water on its tongue will help to subside the panting.
One can also on consultation with the veterinary doctor, incorporate foods that are inherently cool and water based into the dog’s daily diet. As a responsible dog owner, one must be able to identify if the dog is suffering from heat, as they cannot convey it to us with the ease that we humans can. Taking suitable measures to control the problem, before, during and after the summer season, will ensure a safe and sound environment for the healthy growth of your dog.