Get your dog through the summer with common sense but oft-forgotten advice. Thousands of dogs die every summer from heat exposure.
DREADED DOG DAYS OF SUMMER
E. Katie Gammill, AKC Judge and TheDogPlace.org Exhibition Editor
Dogs chained to dog houses have no weather protection and live in misery. No wonder they call July-August dog days. Winter or summer, dogs deserve better.
Dirty dog houses harbor spiders, a clean doghouse and shaded area are mandatory when a dog is chained. Make sure the chain does not wrap itself around a tree or bush. Chained dogs need their immediate area picked up daily. Dogs like to lie under porches and decks for access to the cool earth and will dig holes.
Do NOT take your pet on vacation during the hot summer. Board it or leave it home in familiar surroundings. As a child, fresh road oil glued our bare feet to the tar. Concrete sidewalks replace tar, but if the pavement feels hot through your shoes, it will burn your dog’s feet. Do NOT let dogs ride in pick up truck beds as metal on a hot day can reach 150 plus degrees. Dogs may jump out. Don’t tie dogs to your car bumper or let them hang out of car windows.
Dogs are NOT cooler when long coats are cut down. The double coat insulates the dog from winter cold AND summer heat. Groomers can use a special blade to clip the dog’s coat shorter, leaving approximately two inches of hair; do NOT shear the dog to the skin. Dogs DO sunburn. Coats protect dogs from insect bites. Your pet looks cute in his new “pajamas.”
Feces under your dog’s tail invites flies. Flies lay eggs, which hatch into maggots. Maggots can put your dog’s life in jeopardy. A “hygiene cut” is in order. Trim and wash around the dog’s private parts and under the tail.
“Blowing” coat is the undercoat coming out with a vengeance. Knots form in the arm pits and behind ears and cause serious infection. Dogs that love water and drop eared dogs must have their ears cleaned regularly. Use baby oil or ear cleaner and a soft rag. Call a local groomer or vet to bathe, dry, clean ears and cut nails. Itching may indicate “hot spots” (serious skin infections) that appear overnight and good groomers will alert you to possible problems.
When brushing, use a spray bottle with a mix of Listerine and water. The hair will adhere to the brush. Be sure to comb behind the ears, elbows, and around the privates.
DO NOT LEAVE uneaten food in your dog’s pan. Flies immediately lay eggs and the maggots quickly infest the food as it spoils. Wash food pans and water pans daily. Cold fresh water is a must.
Busy dogs do not bark, so a large raw bone or a chew toy gives the dog something to do. Distressed dogs bark incessantly. If your normally quiet dog is barking, check his doghouse, water bowl, chain, and area for shade. Something is wrong.
House dogs accustomed to air conditioning cannot stay outside long. Dogs do not sweat. Their “cooling system” is panting! Heat strokes happen quickly. If your dog is gasping, tongue red or purple and seems weak, run water from the garden hose, starting at the feet, and work toward the head. Then bundle the dog in a towel and call or go to the vet.
Keep inoculations updated and use flea protection. Heart worm prevention is a must. Scavengers like spoiled food and will approach the dog’s scattered leavings during the night, so rabies shots are important.
Feeding dry to outside dogs is a good idea in summer, but DO NOT OVER FEED. Over eating and drinking cause bloating. The stomach may turn over, twisting the intestines, and this results in death if not quickly caught and surgically corrected. Dogs, like people, tend to over eat. Feed less food, but never short your dog on fresh water.
If you grill outside, DO NOT give your dog steak or chicken bones, as cooked bones puncture intestines and can cause blockage. If your dog stops eating or stops eliminating, go to the vet as this indicatives a serious problem.
As you sit on your porch with a cold glass in your hand, consider your dog. Is he being eaten alive? Is he cool and comfortable? Mosquito candles protect you as you relax. Treat your dog as you yourself would like to be treated.
Picture yourself chained by the neck close to a big glass of ice tea but unable to reach it to quench your thirst. Try eating three day old food. Try scratching places you cannot reach. Sit by your dog in the dirty area where it makes endless circles of frustration. Get the picture?
Spay females and neuter males. DO NOT fill the world with unwanted puppies. Nursing females really suffer in summer, loosing weight, skin problems, and parasites. Don’t foist your unwanted puppies off on friends. These puppies are YOUR responsibility. Don’t allow dogs to breed in the first place. This means good fencing and monitoring. Let’s review the 21 day cycle. Bleeding and swelling the first 7 days. Blood clears and less swelling means LOOK OUT the second 7 days, SHE is advertising. The last 7 days your female goes out of heat.
Unfortunately, males are in heat ALL THE TIME. Ever searching for a “Back Seat Betty”, they follow pheromones released by the females for miles. Since the male has NO responsibility after the act, he goes on his merry way. In case of dog packs, fighting ensues and your dog can be injured.
No matter how you treat your dog, it forgives you time and again. Loyalty and devotion follow you with a determination and loyalty unknown to man. This is what your dog does for you. Ask yourself, “What can I do for my dog to make his/her life less stressful during the “Dog Days”.
And it’s not just your dog. There are organizations that watch out for animal welfare. Give this to the neglectful neighbor along with a Spread too thin, it is up to us to alert them to deplorable situations. Call the shelter if you see a dog in distress. In today’s times, we are privileged to own a pet. Animal Rights Radicals are destroying your right to do so. Don’t play into their hands. Give your dog the same consideration you would your child or yourself during the “Dog Days of Summer.” Be a responsible dog owner.
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