We caught up with dog groomer Samer Al Ogidi who who gives us some key strategies for pooches to beat the heat. He smiles when he talks about dogs, but when it comes to the heat of summer, Samer is not laughing. “Every year, you hear about dogs getting injured or dying needlessly because of the heat,” he says. “They get left in cars, left outside or are otherwise mistreated. It makes me angry. It is not as if summer’s arrival is a surprise. We know what summer is like in the UAE. Our dogs are part of the family and deserve the best treatment to cope with summer.”
Samer has some important tips to help your dog stay healthy, safe and cool. Even if you have had dogs for many years, you may be surprised at the advice:
1. Not all dogs should be shaved. If your dog is double coated, it may keep your dog cooler and do less harm to remove the undercoat instead. Double coated dogs come in all sizes, from Pomeranian to Retriever, so do not assume because your dog is small, it is single coated. Also, some single coated dogs run the risk of painful sunburn and should not be shaved. Consult with a groomer you trust for the best strategy for your dog’s breed.
2. Care for the pads. Fur between the pads of a dog’s paws is often overlooked. If not trimmed properly, it can knot and matt to the extent that it feels like an annoying pebble in a human’s shoe. This can be painful and even get infected. A dog’s instinct is to please its master so they may go days or weeks without complaining even though they are suffering. Check your pup’s paws regularly and thoroughly all year round.
3. Hot paws. Would you go outside for a walk, barefoot, at noon in August in Dubai? Of course not. But that’s just what you are doing when you take your dog for a walk. Hot asphalt hurts the paws. Walk your dog only before sunrise or well after sunset when the pavement has had time to cool.
4. Sensitive skin. The sand and sun extremes in the UAE can wreak havoc on a dog’s sensitive skin. Use natural products to bathe your dog and do not over-bathe. Once every ten days is plenty to protect the skin and not wash away a dog’s natural oils. Beware of products with chemical ingredients and never use human shampoo on dogs.
5. Hit the beach, or at least the garden hose. Just like swimming cools us humans down, getting wet will cool your dog down and feels so good. Treat your best friend to an hour at the beach, some time under the garden hose, or even just a bath inside.
6. Use common sense. Do not leave your dog in the car for any amount of time, even with the window open. Do not leave your dog outside during the hottest parts of the day. Give your dog plenty of fresh water to keep it hydrated.
With thanks to Heather Long Vandevoorde, Ph.D.