Help your dog beat the summer heat
Groom for warm weather. Days that are mild to us can be unbearable for our buddies wearing year-round fur. Make sure your pet’s coat is trimmed.
If your dog doesn’t do haircuts, brush him to reduce shedding. I throw away a whole dog’s worth of fur every day, thanks to the fluffy undercoat on my Labrador mix, Jolene.
Ensure your dog has access to fresh water. Dogs need one ounce of water per pound of weight each day. This amount increases based on a variety of factors, including activity level and diet.
A full water bowl at home is not all you need to remember. Take a portable dish — either a collapsible one, available at pet stores, or a disposable Tupperware container — and water bottle while on walks.
We’ve trained Jolene to drink from our Camelbaks, which is more convenient for us. We squirt from the hose a few inches from her mouth; it’s like a doggy water fountain.
Make home comfortable. Without air conditioning, European homes can get stuffy and hot. Give your dog a comfy spot on the lowest level of your house. Encourage your dog to sprawl out on the cool tile or wood floor, and set up a portable fan next to her favorite nap spot.
Dogs that love water will appreciate romps in the sprinkler and lounging in a kiddie pool. You can buy a cheap wading pool at TEDI euro and other discounters on the economy, as well as your base Exchange.
Avoid outdoor activities during the heat of the day. Schedule walks, play dates and other outings for early morning or late evening. Look for trails in wooded areas to keep your pup out of the sun and prevent his paws from burning on hot asphalt. Bring a squirt bottle to spray water on paws if they get too warm.
Take your pup for a swim. Choose a spot with a lake or pond, but make sure there are not signs forbidding dogs from entering. My favorite spot is the Karlstal valley near Trippstadt, which has gorgeous scenery and flowing springs. Fellow dog parents in the KMC recommend the creek by Weilerbach Park, the Bostalsee near Saarbrücken (look for dog-friendly zones), and Baumholder Lake. A bit farther away is a beach on the Rhine River banks in Frankenthal.
Despite being part Lab, Jolene did not like the water. One afternoon, I took her to the Karlstal area with a friend’s dog that jumped right in. I dropped treats that floated on the surface to coax her in and praised her repeatedly. In less than an hour, I had turned her into a water baby — she was eight years old.