Monday, June 29, 2015

Keeping your snow dog (or other double coated pup) cool during the hot summer months

We know how hot it can be during the summer months. Malamutes and Huskies can do just fine in the heat, but it does take a little extra planning and care. Essentially, we ask that you take precaution and care to help keep your furry friend happy and cool.

The first thing we want to mention is DO NOT shave a mal/husky/double coated dog! Not only does the coat insulate the dog in the cold weather, but it also provides insulation in the warm weather. The coat protects the dog from sunburn and heatstroke. Many people believe shaving their dog down will help him keep cool, but remember that your pet has this coat for a reason.

Make sure your pet has a cool place. We understand your dog probably doesn't want to be left inside all day (and you probably don 't want him roaming the house all day while you're at work). Make sure you have a lot of shade in your yard. Shade trees are wonderful, but an awning will do as well. Some dogs like to crawl inside/under bushes into the cool dirt. Also, remember that concrete and pavement can get very hot in the summer, so grass or dirt is the coolest place to lay. Don't forget to make sure he has plenty of water to drink during the day. If you have an option to have a large fan in a shady spot, your pet will thank you for this as well.

When you go to the park or for walks, pick a shady route and make sure your pet has a shady spot to play and lay at the park. Don't forget to take water if there are not water options along the way and at the park.

Does your pet like water? Pet or kiddie pools are a good option. Fill it up with cool water from the hose, and stick the pool in the shade. This allows your pet a fun place to play/lay/drink. Many mals think of it as a giant water bowl they can stand in. Just make sure you change the water frequently.
If you have a built-in pool, make sure it is fenced off or your dog is kept away from it if you are not home. Many dogs love to swim, but if your snow dog's coat gets waterlogged, he may have a hard time getting out of the pool. If you're swimming in the pool, you're dog would probably love to join you! Offer him a raft and he'll likely float around with you.

If it is especially hot, you may consider coming home at lunch and allowing your pet to come inside and cool down if there is not a way for him to be indoors while you are gone. Even an hour laying in the air conditioning on the cool floor indoors can help your pet keep cool. Working from home? Let your pet hang out inside with you if you don't already. You have an automatic "bring your pet to work" day.

If you have a double coated dog, especially a snow dog that runs or exercises with you, please be mindful of the temperature. Snow dogs were built to work in cold climates, but can adapt to their surroundings. That being said, heavy exertion over 70 degrees is not recommended (consider humidity as well). Snow dogs blow their coats at all different times, so be mindful of your dog's shedding progress in the summer as well. As your dog begins to blow his coat, spend time daily brushing him to help remove the winter coat. Not only will he enjoy the time with you, the removal of the extra fur will help him cool down.

Summertime brings bugs, so ensure your pet is protected with a heartworm preventative as well as a flea and tick medication. Keeping your pet bug free will help keep them more comfortable, and will keep the bugs out of your home.

No matter how careful you are, sometimes things happen. If you think your pet is overheated, bring him inside so he can begin to cool, and contact your vet. The goal here is to lower his body temperature to avoid seizures and brain damage. Do not submerge your dog in the bathtub or cover his whole body with wet towels, as cooling too quickly can be harmful. Allow your dog to rest someplace cool (inside and perhaps in front of a fan). Place wet, cool (NOT cold) cloths on his tummy, inner thighs, and paws. Allow your dog to walk around slowly as he begins to cool down. Movement allows the cooled blood to circulate back to your dog's core. Don't allow your dog to gulp huge amounts of water. He should sip slowly. This may sound silly, but do not offer him any type of sports drink such as Gatorade. These are not formulated for pets. If he does not want to drink water, you may try to offer him some chicken broth.

Last but certainly not least, do not leave your pet in a hot car. Even what we consider "cool" can quickly become an oven for your pet. For example, if it is 75 degrees outside, it can reach 100 inside your vehicle in less than 10 minutes even if your windows are open. Even temps in the low 60s can quickly become too warm inside the vehicle for your pet.

Your pet is a wonderful gift, full of love and respect for you. Show them the same love and respect and keep them happy and cool during the summer.
If you have any questions about ways to keep your pet cool, let us know. We are happy to help.

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