Keeping Our Cool

I’ve said it before: this summer has been pretty mild for a Southern Utah summer thus far. We’ve had many thunder and lightning storms with some rain and we’re expected to have storms every day this weekend.
Today and tomorrow, however, we’re expected to reach a high of 95.
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So what do we do when it’s hot?
We stay inside with the swamp cooler on. 😉 We play indoor games like ring around the couch (my Collies are crazy) and tug. We do some training. They play with puzzles or enjoy a bully stick or a frozen KONG (they love a good yogurt and fruit mixture or peanut butter or pumpkin).
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If it’s considerably cooler come evening, we’ll go outside so they can run and race and play fetch in the yard. Sometimes we’ll go out in the mornings before it gets hot. We stay close to home, or the air conditioned car, if temperatures are expected to rise. I keep a rubber, BPA free, collapsible bowl in the car and bring 2 bottles of cold water when we leave the house.

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I often get asked, “Don’t you shave them for the summer?” “Aren’t they hot with all that fur?”
Answer: No, I never shave them (excluding between their paw pads and a trim around private areas for the sake of cleanliness). Yes, they do get hot just like many other living creatures do when it’s hot out and yes some dogs, just like some humans, don’t tolerate the heat as well as others. But shaving them will do them more harm than good, being the double coated breed that they are. Their coat actually protects them from the sun and even the occasional hitch-hiking insect. Their coat not only keeps them warm in the winter, but it keeps them cool in the summer.

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Some people argue with it, but I stand by it. I would never shave Lassie or Petal unless a medical reason demanded it. If it’s too hot for them and all their fur, we stay inside and entertain ourselves until it’s cool enough to play a game of fetch outside or go for a walk in the shade. I wouldn’t shave my head because it’s hot outside like Pedro did.*

Their coats protect them from getting sunburned and being easily bitten by bugs. That’s not to say they can’t get sunburned or bitten by bugs; Petal’s nose gets sunburned if she’s out in the sun for a prolonged amount of time with no sunscreen on her nose and determined bugs have forged their way through their coats a few times, but the majority of the time, I find the bug and remove it before it can make it to their skin.

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I worry it wouldn’t grow back properly if I shaved it. I am also 99% sure that they would be extremely uncomfortable without their fur. They would also look ridiculous and would probably never forgive me. I had a lady once tell me, as she ran her fingers through Lassie’s coat, that she would shave her Rough Collie every summer and he would hide under the bed for days afterward. Lassie told her off with some barking.

They’ll put up with me putting ridiculous things on their heads, but shaving off their gorgeous coat? I would be in the dog house.

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Looking ridiculous.

There are many other ways to help keep your dog cool during these hot summer days.
The Uncommon Dog has provided this cute infographic with tips for keeping your dog cool and recognizing early warning signs that your dog is overheating.

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(click to enlarge)

Some of the tips (like getting a dog house) probably aren’t necessary unless your dog lives or spends a lot of time outside. I don’t recommend them living outside, but a lot of the dogs where we live do live outside, all year round. But luckily I have yet to see a dog who did not have a dog house and/or shade and water.

My dogs spend very little time outside unsupervised. They have a dog run where they go for potty breaks and that’s the only time they’re outside without supervision. We have a decent amount of property but only one area of it is fenced (you can see it in the above pictures), apart from the dog run, and it is most certainly not an escape proof fence. Because of that, and the fact that they just don’t enjoy being out there alone, they are never out there without a human or two or three. Which means there is always someone there to bring them in right away if the heat begins to be too much.
How do your dogs stay cool on hot summer days?
I’ve been thinking about buying a kiddie pool. Think my Collies would be willing to get their feet wet?
Yeah, probably not. ;P

*Don’t worry, I do know there is a huge difference between my head of hair and my Collies’ bodies of fur. 😉

6 thoughts on “Keeping Our Cool

  1. I like giving frozen treats (either a yogurt filled Kong or the Honest Kitchen Ice Pups), keeping her inside, wetting her harness and putting it on her, ect. It’s been the most mild summer in 6 years here. We’ve only hit 100 once! Last summer it wasn’t going below 102, and was hovering around 106-109.

    Nola’s Mom

  2. We have never gotten our fur shaved either.

    After reading your post, we are trying to imagine Petal and Lassie with sunscreen on their noses. The idea of seeing that sight makes us all chuckle.

    Essex & Sherman

  3. YES to the no-no on shaving fur. We have the same exact philosophy behind not shaving our Aussies. Their coats just aren’t meant to be shaved, and they would never grow back the with the same lustre. Plus, I mean, c’mon. Sailor already went through his awkward teenage years before his furs filled out; he doesn’t wanna repeat that again 😉

  4. I agree on the not shaving. My crew is addicted to Freon. We use a kiddy pool, but Bruce refuses to get in it, silly boy.

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