Am I the only one wondering why summer has arrived sooner than usual in the UAE?
But I am certainly not the only one preparing and planning to help my dog slowly adjust to the rising mercury. Over the past couple of days, I have exchanged notes with at least three dog parents on our walks about how to keep our precious pooches cool during the harsh summer months.
Now what good are these notes if they not shared? So, here are some tips to keep those tails wagging and cool.
Adjust the time of walkies: Throughout winter, we had the flexibility to walk our dogs at different times during the day – mid-morning, early evening and so on. And boy our beagle, Mr. Popo used to go for 4-kilometre long walks each time. But now, it is advisable to walk them early in the morning and only after sundown. For us, 6:30 AM and after-6 PM work well as the sun is not scorching and we can still go for decently long walks. Going forward, as the heat increases, shorter but multiple walks are advisable.
Keep them hydrated: Clean drinking water is vital for dogs, all-year round, but especially so during summer. Besides cleaning and refilling the water bowls from time-to-time during the day, think about carrying a small water bottle while stepping out for walks. If your pooch heats up, you can find a shaded area and let them have a cool drink. By the way, these bottles aren’t too expensive, with prices starting at AED20.
A cool summer trim: If you have a dog, you will know the importance of grooming. It is just like us humans bathing and brushing our teeth every day. Especially during summer, a cool trim might be good for dogs with long coat, curly coat and wire-haired. Along with the coat, look after their paws too as heat can cause irritation. Think about investing in a safe, dog-friendly sunscreen. Yes, you heard it right, sunscreen is essential for breeds such as Mexican Hairless, Chinese Crested and American Hairless Terrier, among others. These dogs run the risk of getting sunburnt, just like humans would if we didn’t wear our protective layer of sunscreen. (Caution: Do not even think of using your sunscreen on your dog.)
A cooling vest is a great option: Last year, we bought a cooling vest for Popo, which was a lifesaver. Before stepping out for a walk, dampen the vest or collar – whatever you opt for – and then put it on your dog. It really helps to keep them cool, and it is not too expensive (approximately AED75 for the vest) considering that your pooch can use it for a couple of seasons based on the quality of the product. Cooling mats are available too, but a DIY (do-it-yourself) hack is to use cool towels and ice cubes.
Day care and swimming sessions: During the summer months, safe, clean and indoor doggie day care is an option worth exploring. Our beloved pooches get to play and exercise, but in a temperature-controlled, well-monitored environment. Several doggie day cares also have swimming pools for dogs to splash around. For dogs that love water, this is a great option. Of course, bear in mind the day care charges, usually starting at AED10 per hour and often more to use the pool. Another option is to buy a paddle pool (prices starting AED60) and let your pooches have fun at home.
Now, besides the above tips, always watch out for any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms such as excessive panting, drooling, prolonged diarrhoea, listlessness and lack of appetite, among others. If you notice any of these symptoms, the best option is to go for a vet check-up. One last word – please do not leave your dog in the car or outside a supermarket as they will heat up quickly.
Summer – we are getting ready for you!