Okay, it’s hot for us 98 degree F blooded humans this time of year… now imagine being a 101 degree F blooded canine and having a fur coat… and if you’re a Keeshond, having a double fur coat on!
For many dogs, including the Kees, it’s not a favorite time of year (nor mine… I much prefer the cold over the heat.) Clancy hardly even wants to go outside to do his business… Funny how many times he barks to go out when it’s below 60 degrees outside and how little he seems to need to relieve himself when it’s above 85 degrees out.
A dog shouldn’t be cooped up inside all summer long though… (and they certainly shouldn’t live their lives outdoors either!) There are some things you can do to make life more enjoyable for your furry friend during these dog days of summer and have a little fun together.
- Fill a baby pool up in the backyard and go splashing around with your pup. C’mon, make-believe that you’re 5 years old again and sit in the center of the pool… pat the water and encourage your dog to hop in. If they’re hesitant or don’t seem to like water, start off with an empty pool and let them get used to it. Make it a game to hop in and out of the empty pool. Eventually add just a little bit of water and gradually work your way to a full pool. Make up fun games such as bobbing for hot dog pieces. Be sure to empty it when you’re through and not leave a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Don’t have a baby pool? How about just laying out a tarp and have a running hose on it for your dog to roll around or a soaked towel just to stand on? Dogs sweat through the pads of their feet so it feels good for them to stand in/on something cool. I know Clancy is hot when he digs in the water dish splashing water all around… then he just stands in it.
- Our fun summer dog sport is dock diving (many of you know this already)! As I mentioned in a previous post on dock diving (I hope to add a second post about the topic in the near future), practically ANY dog can learn how to participate.
There’s even a new offering of various water sports games for your dog.
Many dock diving facilities offer lessons and it’s a great way to have summer fun with your dog.
If there is a dock diving competition happening near you, they usually allow you to give it a try during their practice hours. Usually mornings and Sundays have less competitors trying to practice, so you may end up getting extra pool time. Of course all you really need is a body of water and a dock.
- Look for fun dog water activities in your area or just enjoy a game of fetch at a dog friendly pool or the beach.
There are often fun dog events and fundraisers that non-profit organizations or clubs put on throughout the summer. For example, Clancy looks forward to the SPCA Puppy Plunge each August, a fun and wet dog fundraiser event at a local YMCA summer camp on the river. Below is a video of Clancy enjoying the event last year where we helped to raise over $200 in pledges for that local SPCA.
Search online for events in your area or check with your local humane society. There are also often “end of summer dog pool days” or “dog waterpark days”
at many local community pools and waterparks on their final days before closing for the season.
Be sure to rinse out the chlorine or river water off of your dog when you’re finished.
- Take your dog to a summer ice hockey game at the local ice rink (if allowed.) Often there are recreational late night games and many ice rinks don’t mind you bringing your well-behaved dog in with you to watch the game. Dogs will likely enjoy climbing the mountains of snow the Zamboni dumps behind the building, too.
Clancy became the “unofficial mascot” for my husband’s hockey team since he never missed a chance tagging along to the cool confines of the ice rink.
- Take field trips to air conditioned places… dogs love to go anywhere with you, so just load them up and take them to a pet supplies store or a family member’s home just because…
- Provide some fun doggie frozen treats. Ice cubes are one of Clancy’s favorite summertime treat and there are many recipes online to make them really interesting and tasty.
- Physically and mentally exercise your dog inside in the air conditioning. Teach your dog a new trick or build on manners and obedience skills by requiring them to wait longer to be released, etc. Use interactive toys, a treat dispensing toy, puzzle toys, drag toys on a rope or use a laser to get them moving. Buy a dog treadmill. You can sometimes find a deal on Craigslist. Clancy walks on his treadmill indoors in the AC and with a fan blowing on him. He definitely prefers this over taking walks in the 90+ degree summer heat. Watch the video below of Clancy and his treadmill tips.
Some Summer Common-sense:
- Be sure to bring plenty of cool water for your dog when you are spending time outside in hot weather and offer it to your dog often.
- Be aware of the pavement temperatures… if it is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot on your dog’s feet, too! Walk them early in the morning, choose the shady side of the street, walk them in the grass, carry them over hot asphalt if possible or have them wear doggie booties if they will be walking on hot pavement.
- NEVER leave your dog in a car, even with the windows open. Try sitting in a car on a summer day with the windows just cracked and see how long you last before you can’t take it anymore… it’s literally just seconds.
- Provide shade with a canopy, umbrella, or something that your dog can use to get out of the sun when you’re at a picnic or other event. Dogs can get sunburnt too, not to mention how much hotter it is to be in the sun versus the shade.
- Bring a couple of powerful battery operated fans to blow on your dog.
- You may want to try cooling mats/beds and or cooling jackets. I personally haven’t had success with these on my Keeshond, but they may be good for other dogs.
- Know the signs of heat stress.
- Keep your dog properly groomed, especially if it is a double-coated breed, such as the Keeshond. Line-brushing your Kees to ensure the fur is combed through all the way to the skin will allow air to circulate keeping your Kees comfortable. Please see my comments below about shaving Keeshonden.
Finally, I know this may be a controversial subject for some, but as much as you think you are doing a favor by shaving them, please do not shave your double-coated breed, particularly the Keeshond.
During the summer, the 2nd most common question I’m asked when I’m out with Clancy (first most common is always “What kind of dog IS that?!”) is “aren’t you going to shave him?” Well, I’m sure the inquirer is expecting a yes or no answer, most likely a yes answer. However, I feel I have to accompany an explanation with my answer of “no”.
I explain how the double coat insulates him from the cold AND the heat, how fair their skin is and how easily they would get sun-burnt and their coat would not grow back the same way it’s meant to be. Just brush your Kees a little more regularly during the hot months to encourage air flow and your Kees will be fine, especially with the tips I listed above.
Please feel free to share your own suggestions on having fun with your dog when it’s hot and enjoy the rest of summer with your pup!
“Be your dog’s best friend!” ~ SSB