I am a heavy-coated Aussie, which makes summer a bit more challenging for me than my lighter-coated tribe members, Thunderbear and Crockett. Here are my tips, fellow canines, for staying cool during the summer.
- Dig a nice hole under your favorite boxwood bush. Tell the chickens to find some other place to take a dirt bath. The hole you dig becomes better after you have been swimming and can add the water from your coat to the earth. Mud is a dog’s best cooling friend. Sort of like a body poultice. The humans, however, don’t appreciate it too much.
- I am not a big fan of taking a bath, but a good swim in a pond sure beats the heat. Crockett likes to run through the garden sprinkler. In a pinch, you can do what Thunderbear and I do, which is to get really dirty and then crawl into a horse water trough, especially after it has just been cleaned and filled with fresh water.
- Hog the air conditioning vents or plant yourself in front of a fan. My human is very sensitive to my needs, so when it is really hot I get to lie on an air conditioning vent and have my own personal fan. It’s great to be me.
- Ice cubes are awesome! I love to lick them and then crunch on them. Crockett just likes to watch them melt on the kitchen floor. Thunderbear prefers his in a water bowl. Kemosabe just carries ice cubes in his mouth like a toy. To each their own.
- This time of year I get more cooling foods in my food bowl, and since I never met a food I didn’t like, I can eat a lot of different cooling foods like kale, celery, squash, green beans, apples, berries, melons, eggs, chicken, and turkey. Of course I have my own Buckaroo’s Cooling Stew from BioStar, which saves my human time from cutting and dicing foods, and makes me the only Aussie in this tribe to have a product named in my honor.
By the way…I know humans are tempted at the sight of their panting dog to whisk the dog to the groomer to be clipped. For breeds like Australian shepherds whose coats are designed to be long, shaving our coats is the worst thing you can do for us in the summer. Believe it or not our coats breathe, they repel dirt (some of it on the kitchen floor), and our coats protect us from sunburn. With some breeds like Aussies, if you shave the coat, it doesn’t grow back like the original version. The best thing you can do for long-coated dogs like me is to brush us regularly to remove the dead hairs, which allows air to circulate and keep us cooler.
One last thing. It has not escaped my attention that while I chow down on ice cubes, the equines get beer—Guinness to be exact. For quite a while I thought this was a cosmic imbalance of some kind; how is it that the horses get alcohol, and we, the beloved canines, don’t? Come to find out that beer is dangerous to dogs because of the hops, which can cause violent reactions in us, including labored breathing, vomiting, and kidney damage.
Heat can be a serious stressor for some dogs, so take my advice: get wet, get dirty, take a siesta, eat cooling foods, and get into trouble at nightfall.