Hot Weather Blues

Hot Weather Blues

Before we talk about pet care, I have a simple task for you. Close your eyes and think about your favourite dogs in films or TV shows. I bet most of you immediately thought of some variation of a husky, and the rest pictured one of those fun active dogs with lots of hair and a ton of attitude. This is not a psychic prediction, rather simple statistics, as these are the types of dogs Hollywood usually goes for when portraying our canine pals. These type of furry, active breeds end up becoming popular in the public psyche, with the result being that a lot of pet owners in India end up adopting dogs that are generally called winter dogs. If you are not familiar with the term, winter dog refers to breeds of dogs that are usually bred for hunting/herding/farm work in tough climates, which requires them to have high stamina, an aggressive attitude, as well as develop special weather protection in the form of fluffy ‘double coats’ that feature a dense undercoat of short woolly hair, under a top coat of longer hair. The hair provides insulation in winter weather, while the longer hair help keeps them cool during the summer. This is why these breeds shed a lot during the summer season as their body naturally gets rid of the undercoat it doesn’t need to protect itself. Being the owner of these breeds means a lot of responsibility, as they require extra care since they aren’t suited for our harsh tropical climate. Here is a list of popular dog breeds with double coats:

• Akita

• Alaskan Husky

• Shiba Inu

• Siberian Husky

• Australian Shepherd

• Shetland Sheepdog

• Bernese Mountain Dog

• Great Pyrenees

• Newfoundland

• Golden Retriever

• Labrador Retriever

• Miniature Schnauzer

• Havanese

• Pomeranian

If you own one of these breeds mentioned in the box, then here are a few tips for you, that might help make this summer a bit more fun and relaxing for your pet.

Keep Them Cool

The best option during the day is to keep these dogs indoors with the air condition blasting. This will help them to keep cool. If you don’t have this option, then at least make sure they have a damp towel to lie down on, preferably in a shaded area. These types of dogs are generally active during the early hours of the day or at night, so it is best to let them sleep during the day. If you have to take them outdoors, then give them lots of water to drink and use cooling vests if possible. You can even keep a spray bottle with cold water to mist them regularly. A nice trick is to keep ice cubes handy and throw some in their drinking water or freeze their favourite treats in water to make mini popsicles for them to enjoy. If the idea is to go for a picnic, then use an inflatable kiddie pool filled with cold water to keep their paws cool and help them regulate their temperature.

Do Not Miss Workouts

Considering how hot it gets during the daytime, it is easy to consider skipping workouts for your dog. However, that can lead to medical and behavioural issues, since these breeds are meant to work for hours on a daily basis and need to burn that energy. The best option is to take them out early in the morning or during the night when the temperatures are the lowest and the dogs most active. Make sure to keep them off concrete or roads, since those surfaces retain a lot of heat and can burn their paws. If there is no other option, then at the least use booties to save their paws. Just make sure they always have lots of water to drink, and if they seem overheated, then cool them down with lukewarm water to avoid shock.

Regular Grooming

Lots of hair means lots of grooming, so do not be afraid to get your hands dirty in keeping your pooch clean. Brush your dog daily to remove loose and dead hair. There are special undercoat grooming rakes that are designed to help make this easier. Other than that, you will also have to brush the dog at least two or three times a week to avoid mats and tangles that can easily become infested with bugs. This will help keep the coat shiny, the smell out and also avoid allergies. Even if this seems like too much work, make sure you never shave your dog, since they need the top coat to regulate their body temperature and keep cool.

With these simple steps and lots of lots of water, your winter dog will remain healthy and happy no matter how hot it gets.

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