Beating the Heat – How to make your dog Summer-ready!
March is almost over, and Summers have officially kicked in. Summers are particularly difficult for dogs. If you’re wondering how, try stepping out barefoot in the sun on an April afternoon. Now try doing that wearing a shrug or overcoat, depending on how thick your dog’s coat is. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.
Hoomans sweat when they feel hot, dogs pant. Panting in dogs is equivalent to perspiring in humans. Even though dogs have some sweat glands on their paws, their primary method of heat exchange or ‘cooling down’ is by panting. And normally, it takes a lot more time for a dog to cool down relative to a human. It’s obvious that we should try everything possible to help keep our furry friends cool and comfortable during the summers. Here are 6 simple ways to do so:
- Doggo’s gotta stay cool: Don’t lock your dog in a hot car, or leash him on a sunny terrace or anywhere outside. Keep him indoors as much as possible or otherwise in shade. Don’t muzzle him up, that obstructs panting and stops them from cooling down. Prolonged exposure to heat and inability to cool down can lead to heat strokes in dogs. Thick-coated or snow dogs such as Huskies, Mastiffs, Akitas and St. Bernards should be kept in an air-conditioned area. Dogs with shorter snouts like bulldogs, pugs, etc may experience trouble breathing. Take him out during colder hours like mornings or evenings, and then too, avoid hot surfaces like asphalt or concrete that can burn their paws.
- Keep him Hydrated: Always ensure a healthy and uninterrupted availability of fresh drinking water. Keep his bowls filled and change water periodically to ensure there are no insects. It’s normal that your dog may eat less or stop eating completely but make sure he’s getting the fluids. Unsweetened/unsalted lassi (yogurt + water), coconut water, watery fruits and berries like watermelon, melons, papaya, strawberries, raspberries, cucumber, etc are great to keep your dog hydrated.
- See a Dog-Groomer: Opt for a summer-friendly haircut for your pet. Giving your dog a breed-appropriate but light coat can help your dog feel cooler. But remember – the same coat that makes them feel hot also protects them from the sun. A shaved (or over-trimmed) dog is prone to sunburn, among other skin issues in summers.
- Go water-sporting: Take your dog to a pool or just treat him to a puddle full of mud. He’ll know what to do. Your dog would love to sit in moist places in the house. But make sure he’s always clean and dry after all the wet-fun. Any amount of moisture in this weather can grow into a yeast or fungal infection.
- Make Icy-Treats: Dogs love ice and icy things. But it’s not advisable to treat him to a hooman ice-cream bar every time. Instead, you can try simple DIY recipes to make delicious and healthy frozen treats for your dogs this summer. Not only they help the dog stay cool and hydrated, it’ll make a nice Snapchat or Instagram story too. Here’s a simple YouTube search that lists out some of my favorite recipes.
- Watch what he eats & excretes: As mentioned earlier, your dog may act fussy with his food, he may eat less or eat nothing at all for a few days. But don’t let that worry you. Keep their food light, and include loads of fluids in their diets. Try cold foods, fruits and otherwise easily-digestible food items. Observe his poop and report any signs of parasites to your vet. Bacterial and viral infections often make their way to your dog’s body by means of spoiled food during the hot season.
Summers can be uncomfortable, but with these simple tips, you and your pupper be summer-ready!
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