Popularly termed as a man’s best friend, dogs are more than just friends, they are a part of our family. With their exuberant tail wagging and soft furry kisses, they brighten our days. These loyal companions face the worst in this heat, with restlessness to general lack of energy being commonly observed within them. So how do we protect and take care of our beloved tail-waggers this summer? Worry not, we were lucky enough to have a quick chat with a friendly veterinary student who gave us some great and easy tips which will come in handy when we take care of our dogs, especially puppies. Give this guide a quick read and we assure you that the wolfish grins will never again subside this summer!
1. Summer is an ideal season for germs to manifest. Considering that dogs have a thick coat of fur, their major problem in the summer is thermo regulation. They can’t balance their body heat which often gets them irritated, so all dogs and especially dogs with thick fur coats tend to stay outdoors. This leads to a maximized exposure to germs. To avoid this, make sure that your dog stays indoors as much as it can, the only way to ensure this is by spraying the areas where he rests with some cool water. A wet jute bag also does the trick; however make sure that the resting area does not stay damp, keep it regularly hydrated. Dampness is a major source of infection and skin irritation.
2. Hair shedding or hair loss is a highly worrisome problem in summer. Hair shedding is caused by infection and low thermo regulation. To avoid or minimize hair loss, make sure that your dog is properly medicated with deworming vaccination. This vaccination comes in the form of tablets which can be administered orally. It is advisable that you refer to your local vet for the proper deworming tablets, do not buy any medicine without his prescription.
3. Another way to combat your dog’s hair loss is by combing his coat regularly with an even spacing or broad bristled comb. The right way to do this is by combing it once from the tail to head direction and twice from the head to tail direction. This solves the issue of hair matting and loose hair strands. However, avoid combing your dog immediately after a bath. Combing a moist fur coat is extremely irritating for a dog and it also leads to severe hair loss.
4. Do not let your dog rest or play in soil, soil is a common transmitter of viruses which affect the digestive system and also causes hair loss.
5. Avoid letting your dog drink from buckets and commonly shared water containers. Make sure that he drinks from his water bowl (train him to do so if required). Keep an ample supply of cold water but refrain from providing him with refrigerated water. Clay pots work just fine, cover the pot with a wet cloth and keep changing the water regularly. Avoid mixing his water with ice.
6. Dogs have a tendency to sniff around a lot especially during walks. Pollens in the air often trouble a dog’s nose which causes him to sneeze a lot and scratch his nose. Wipe his nose with a wet cloth after every walk, also avoid letting him wander around.
7. If you have a puppy in the house, make sure that the place is cross ventilated (adequate ventilation of air) and keep the puppy properly hydrated with regular water supply.
8. Avoid using puppy baskets, it causes them skin irritation. If it cannot be avoided, make sure that the basket has a thin cotton cloth as a base for him to rest on. Avoid wool as it is a good conductor of heat.
9. Skin irritation is highly common after a haircut, in such cases prepare a homemade mixture of Eucalyptus oil (half bowl) with a pinch of Turmeric powder and rub it gently on his fur. This provides them with relief from the itching and also kills off all the parasites.
10. Avoid bathing puppies that are younger than 2 months. Wipe their body and eyes with moist cloth instead and consult a vet if the puppy shows signs of Anorexia.
11. Avoid keeping aged dogs in damp spots, the lack of movement causes skin infection.
Other general tips:
- 3-4 is the ideal number of meals for a full grown dog. Twice if it’s a puppy.
- Avoid missing vaccination courses. First vaccination should be administered when the puppy is two and a half months old. Repeat after every 2 months. Consult your vet for further information.
- Make sure that your puppy chews properly; they have a tendency to gulp a lot. A good way to combat this is by feeding them through dog bowls.
- In case of a dog fight, vaccinate your dog immediately with a post bite Rabies vaccination. Clean the wound but do not let your dog lick it.
- Keep dog collars loose, it helps to avoid strangling. Refrain from using choke chains, they are highly harmful.
- Avoid using human medicines and human shampoo. Consult your vet for the proper medication and bathing products.
- Avoid wheat products, raw meat, chocolate, coffee, liquor, spicy food and seeded fruits and vegetables.
- Dogs tend to eat grass a lot. Do not worry, let them do so. It is their unique way of battling with acidity.
- Avoid training till the puppy is at least 3 months old.
- Avoid smooth and slippery floors as they damage their nails. It is advisable that you let your puppy play or walk in gravel. This helps their footpads to develop which helps them to grip our house floors.
- If you have an older dog then keep the puppy away from him, unless it’s his mother. In such cases, do not separate them at all.
- Clean and groom your dog regularly. There are professionals available who will groom your dog for you. Also avoid dog day care services.
- Check the legal papers while buying a puppy. This is highly important, do not buy a puppy unless the breeder provides you with the proper papers.
- Do not man handle a puppy, they are extremely fragile and a slight sprain can cause severe problems in his growth.
Feature image credits: Thinkstock/damedeeso