Large, rugged country dogs, who live outdoors in all kinds of weather, usually need little special care in either the summer or the winter. Their coats and constitutions are such that they are protected against extreme heat and cold. But the smaller city dogs, who spend most of their days indoors, need consideration when the thermometer goes down or the sun is blazing.
If your dog has a naturally thick coat of hair and doesn’t shiver when he’s out in the cold, he probably won’t have to wear a sweater or a coat. But if he is one of the toy breeds, or a breed that has flat hair, or any breed that begins to shiver on the first winter day, he definitely should wear a covering of some kind. This won’t make a sissy of Beans. It is done to prevent him from getting sick. If he spends most of his time in the house, he can easily catch cold when he goes right from a warm room into a cold street or yard, unless he wears a coat. When you buy or make a sweater or coat for Beans, be sure it covers his chest and belly. That is where he needs the most protection from the cold, not just over his back. Let him play in the snow as much as he wants to, but don’t let him eat it. It may upset his stomach.
It is a good idea to run with your dog when you first take him out of the house. This starts his blood circulating and quickly warms him up. It is also a good idea to have his bath towel ready near the door to wipe off his feet when he comes in. This will not only keep snow and mud off your floors, but it will also help prevent Beans from catching cold.
Another good idea is to add a teaspoon of cod-liver oil to Beans’s dinner during the winter months, even after he is full-grown. Its vitamins make up for the lack of sunshine during this time of the year, and will build up his resistance to colds and other illnesses.
Dogs feel the heat as much as they feel the cold-maybe more so-unless they are a kind that is protected by a thick coat. Whether you stay home for your vacation, therefore, or go to the country or seashore, here are some sensible things to remember when the weather gets hot: Don’t clip off your dog’s coat, no matter how thick it is. The same hair that keeps him warm in winter also keeps him cool in summer. This hair around his body acts in much the same way as the insulation in the walls around your home. Just as in the winter, it is the dog with the flat coat of hair who needs more summer care than the dog with the bushy coat.
Feed Beans the same food as usual, but don’t feed him so much of it. Don’t worry if he doesn’t eat. Don’t force him to eat, even if he refuses all food for several days.
Be sure to keep plenty of fresh water in his dish. Keep this in a cool place out of the sunlight.
Be sure Beans has a cool, shady place to lie, either in the house or out of doors. Let him dig himself a little bed in the ground and lie in it, if he wants to. It will keep him cool and comfortable even if it does make him a little dirty.
Don’t ever play with Beans during the hottest part of the day. The best times to play with him in the summer are early in the morning and after the sun has set in the evening. Don’t be afraid if he pants and slobbers a lot while he’s playing. Since he will be inoculated against rabies once a year (see Medical Hints), this slobbering cannot possibly mean that he has suddenly “gone mad.” Dogs have no sweat glands, as humans have, so they cannot perspire through their skin. The slobbering and panting is Beans’s way of perspiring.
If there should be an unusually severe heat wave, don’t take Beans out at all except in the very early morning and late at night. Don’t play with him. Give him a sponge bath several times a day by dipping a cloth in cool water and washing his whole body.
If, in spite of these precautions, Beans should suddenly begin to claw wildly at things, this is a sign of heat hysteria. Or if he should suddenly fall down in a faint, this is heat prostration. In either case, don’t become nervous or alarmed. Call a veterinarian, and keep Beans as quiet as you can until he arrives.
A Storm’s Coming!
Dogs can be terribly frightened by electric storms, especially if they’ve never heard or seen one before. Some dogs even seem to sense when a storm is on the way, many hours before it actually arrives. Beans may hide in a corner one fine day and start to shake. You’ll wonder what in the world is the matter with him. You’ll know what was the matter when the first crack of lightning comes, or the first clap of thunder.,/p>
Thunder, or Fourth of July firecrackers, can give a dog a bad scare. Keep calm, and try to keep Beans calm by keeping him in the house near you.
A city dog seldom, if ever, gets into a fight with another dog because he is (or he should be) always on a leash. You can pull him away from a snarling stranger.
But in the country, where it’s safer to let him off his leash than it is in the city, he may get into a fight with a dog who dares to trespass on his property. DO NOT TRY TO STOP THE FIGHT BY YOURSELF. You may get between the two angry animals and be severely bitten.
Call some grownups for help, if Beans gets into a fight. If you can find a bucket of cold water quickly, or reach a hose, pour the water over the dogs. This usually stops a fight. If it doesn’t, the adults can grab each dog by his collar, his ears, or his tail and pull them apart. But remember . . . don’t you try to do this!
At the Seashore
In addition to the summer care already mentioned, there are a few special problems if you’re taking Beans to the seaside.
He may swallow salt water and even sand. This usually makes him vomit and then he’s all right. But if he seems sick after a day at the beach . . . if he vomits a lot or has loose bowels . . . give him a tablespoonful of mineral oil. Don’t feed him for twenty-four hours, but let him drink plenty of fresh water. As soon as he gets used to the beach, he’ll learn not to swallow salt water or sand.
If he gets sand in his eyes and begins to paw at them and whine, first hold his eyelids apart with one hand. Then take cotton or Kleenex and get it wet with fresh water or boric acid solution. Squeeze the cotton over his eyes and flush out all the bits of sand. Then wipe around the eyes gently to remove what sand may be there.
Beans may also start scratching a lot after he’s been swimming in salt water. This is because the salt dries on his skin and makes it itch. Until he gets used to the sea, you should wash him off with fresh water after every swim.
And remember that although all dogs can swim, they can also drown. So don’t let Beans go into heavy waves that may pull him under the water too far out for you to reach him. When the surf is rough, keep him near the shore with you.