Archive for July, 2009

Hot House With Dogs
July 31, 2009

Dear Liz,

My dog is lazy and spends much of his day inside.   The house gets hot quickly now that summer has finally arrived.  What’s the best temp to keep fido comfortable, without donating an arm, leg and tail to the electric company?

Signed,

Hot Dog

Dear Hotdog:  Well, the temps have been fairly ok but that humidity makes it just SO miserable for everyone – including Fido (and even Kitty!).

Not sure what the best temperature is, but I’d guess it’s what ever is comfortable for you.  Now, if you’re like me and you hate air conditioning, your pets may not agree with what I just said!  I’d guess around 70 is good.

If your pet has longer hair (dog or cat) and still seems uncomfortable in the heat and humidity, why not consider a summer shave?  (You may want to leave this up to a professional, though – especially for Kitty!)   I know from experience that certain dogs (and cats) love it when they’re shaved down for the summer. Remember that their coat is there to insulate them but that sometimes it can be in a bad way.  Shaving them down allows the release of heat more easily from their bodies.

One drawback, though, is that your pet may become more susceptible to sunburn!  Yep, pets get sunburn, too.  That insulating coat protects them from the sun’s rays as well, so make sure your pet is not kept outside for extended periods of time.

My pets also enjoy the coolness of the kitchen floor.  If your pet has a favorite place to lie down, consider a small fan to circulate the air around him / her.  My guys actually face the fan and seem to smile as the air blows into their faces (weird, gotta tell ya!).

Lastly, if you use a plastic kennel for your pet, please consider replacing it with a wire one.  The plastic kennels act as insulators as well and can make over-heating a real problem for your pet.  The plastic ones don’t allow air circulation very well, either.

Hope that helps!

Advertisements

Dog Shedding
July 10, 2009

Dear Liz,

The tumble weeds of shedding dog hair are rolling through my house like it’s the Old West. A few friends are saying the same of their dogs. Why? What do I do?

Signed, Busy Broom

Dear Busy: Yepper! Everyone I talk with this summer says the same thing. Dogs are shedding in a BIG way. Not sure why but I’m thinking it might have something to do with the crazy weather we’ve been having.

Dogs usually shed in the spring and again a little bit in the fall. The reason they shed in the spring is to get rid of their winter coats and to cool them off in preparation for the summer heat. I’ve never figured out why they shed in the fall, though!

Anyway, this spring’s shed seems to have lasted into the summer in a big way. Their coats seem to be coming off in large sheets, like a sheep shearing!

Now, on to what you should do. There are many products out there labeled as shedding preventatives, or shedding reducers. Since the reason for the shed is to let the dog be cooler, it seems that preventing or reducing shedding just works against nature. I’d avoid these products for shedding reasons, but they do give the dog a nice coat!

I’d suggest just keeping up on brushing. I’ve found with my dogs that getting a fine comb and going against the hair growth pattern gets more out than going with the hair growth. I’ve also found that my dogs like it more! They do have “shedding combs” out there as well – but I like just a regular dog comb. Pick what you like, though and go for it.

Giving a bath actually helps in the shedding, too. For the first 24 hours after a bath, though, there will be an immense amount of hair flowing through your house, though! But it will be easier to comb out, too. Oh, and one more thing. We bought a Shop Vac instead of a vacuum cleaner. It’s GREAT for getting hair and it doesn’t clog the filter as much! There will be an end to this madness, though, come winter! Or at least I HOPE so!