Contributed by Kathy Conowall; aka ‘Mom’, 9 to 5 Pets
Florida has some pretty unrelenting weather most often related to a factor of heat and humidity. This time of year is no exception. I joyfully read and look at the visitation reports from our Terrific Team at 9 to 5 Pets. I see every size and breed of dog you can imagine, each with their own taste for pace, posture, and destination in the out-of-doors. It occurred to me that learning something about their unannounced but critical need to be spared heat exhaustion, yet be allowed the fresh air, and play just this side of too much/over the top might be worth examining.
“Seasons change…and so has my appetite.”
Longer days and rising temperatures can trigger significant hormonal changes in your pets that can alter their metabolism. So you might want to consider changes in your pet’s food intake. They have no need to store up calories to keep warm, and like ourselves, something lighter that digests more easily along with smaller portions may decrease their elimination and increase their preparedness to play. And supplying them with a fresh, plentiful, and accessible water source daily is a must. We can all relate to how helpful it is to hydrate in the heat!
“Am I a good match for your lifestyle?”
This one is so hard to self-examine when countless color-combinations and cuteness stare into your eyes longingly hoping to be the one you’ll take home. But in all fairness, you have built-in, fixed formatting already in place. Your home and property are a given, your vehicle is very much predetermined, and I’ll even bet an honest assessment would render just how much time you have to attend to your pet in a 24 hour period of time. Are you athletic? Do you want your dog to accompany you during your running or walking activities? Or are you looking for a sidekick next to you on the sofa or easy chair? You need to be brutally honest. Emotional or even visual attraction can be very misleading.
“Am I built for the heat?”
The breed of your dog is critical when in the most favorable of home environments, the thermometer cannot be ignored. DNA gives steerage to our wellness in all kinds of weather. So too, your dog’s lineage and size WILL determine their seasonal energy and affection. You can actually look at their faces for all kinds of clues: long snouts, pug noses, flat faces are all giveaways. Even ears can be measured as segways for getting rid of the heat. Here’s a list of breeds that can really beat the heat.
“Drop the clippers and grab me a shirt!”
While we often make winter fashion statements by putting a cute coat on our pet in the colder months, don’t forget there are lines of summer clothing you can purchase to help protect them from the sun and keep them cool. And should you be tempted to shave your dog’s coat in the summer to “keep them cool” please don’t! This is a huge misconception and will only achieve the opposite effect. A dog’s fur coat insulates them not only from the cold in the winter but from the heat and UV rays in the summer.
As always, if you have any doubts or worries, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to assess the situation. Telltale signals cannot escape your intuition. It is the very reason you’re reading this and made a place in your heart and your home for your Precious Pet. Hats off…no back on…to YOU!