Sunday, July 26, 2009

Keeping Horse and Dogs Cool in the Summer!

The Dog Days of Summer...swimming, boating, fishing...just give me air conditioning!

Your pets feel the heat too so here are some tips.


1. DON'T give ice cubes in your dogs water! Violent muscle spasms in their stomach can happen which causes bloating - and a trip to the vet. Room temp water should always be available.

2. NO need to shave the whole body of your terrier, Lab or Golden. I have many requests and must do as my customer wants, but it really is not helping to keep the dog cool. Furminating is the best, and I'll cover that procedure in another blog. (Although some dogs have a medical reason to be shaved) When we lived in Texas with 100 degree daily temp, I shaved my terrier often. Here in Florida, I asked the vet and he said dogs keep cool two ways - by panting (as most people know) and via his belly. So now I just give him a wide sanitary clip (they are usually bald around their privates anyway - nature knows best) shaving up to his front legs including under his armpits. He loves to lay his belly in water to cool down, as seen in the photo above.

3. DO let them have fun with water. I have a customer with two wonderful Goldens that he plays with in summer by turning on the water hose! Swimming in a pool or pond are great as well - in Florida we have to watch out for the gators though!


1. DO hose them down, especially if showing signs of heat discomfort - lethargic and colicy. No need to bathe them with shampoo - save that for shows or once a month. Detergents will dry out the skin. But hosing them down daily during a hot spell will relieve them and cause no bad effects. In fact, for horses not accustom to a bath, a hot day is a perfect time to train them to accept it! Eventually, they'll love it. Many horses will wade in ponds etc. or play in their outdoor water tubs - so make sure they stay clean and full to drink.

2. DO keep them groomed, as rolling in mud or dust may make them feel good at the time, but cause problems later (dirt bumps, allergies etc) and after lots of rain, rain rot fungus may form. Clipping isn't necessary although show horses are clipped to keep their temperature down.

3. DO keep fresh water available - and not water that has been heated outside all day. Change it when feeding the evening meal.

4. DO provide shade. A lean-to or large trees is fine for pastured horses. If stalls are available, fans are a nice option. Ideally, offer both and let the horses choose. Fans (installed safely outside the stall bars or above their heads) also keep the pesky flies away. Many stables keep horses inside during summer days and out at night, switching to winter days outside and inside at night.