Well summer weather has arrived in the GTA, it feels almost as if we bypassed spring and went right into summer, which I personally don’t mind at all! Those who do mind however; are my dogs!
When Dupont was alive, he hated the heat, so much so I would get his lovely long coat shaved down every spring so he could continue to enjoy his hikes and not get slowed down by the heat. As he aged and his mobility became more of an issue than the heat, I kept his fur in tact and we would just head to the nearby creek for a dip in the cool water before laying down under a tree in the shade.
In October 2014, I unexpectedly found myself adopting Flipflop. Oh what a dream, I thought, a dog from Bahamas would surely love the summer and hate the bitter cold winters we have here!
I was surprised when I saw that Flipflop, even as a puppy, didn’t mind the cold at all, he loved being out in the snow and using his Frisbee as a toboggan to slide down hills (he was much smaller than he is now his first winter!). Sadly, Dupont passed away that winter, and although to say I missed him is a huge understatement, I also knew life had to go on. So as winter left I geared up with excitement that Flipflop and I would have such a wonderful summer with long walks in the glorious sunshine.
It was that summer I learned that just because a dog is from a warm climate, does not mean they enjoy a warm climate! Flipflop hated the heat and to make it even worse, he was petrified of water, a fear he grew out of his second summer and now enjoys romps in the creeks and lakes on our summer outings.
Unlike Dupont, Flipflop all ready has a short coat so shaving him to make him comfortable wasn’t an option. So, I started a new summer routine, one we still use 3 years later, in the mornings before the extreme heat arrives, we go for a long walk and enjoy rolls in the grass and take our time exploring the neighbourhood. As the temperture rises and heat increases Flipflop is in the comfort of his air conditioned home and quite content. And the rest of the day consists of quick outings to relieve himself and if he insists, a little layout under the shade of a tree. Something he does that is so similar to how I spent so many days with Dupont, it warms my heart.
Dahlia, from Florida, is also anti-heat and an older dog. Dahlia doesn’t care to be outside if the temperature is above 15 degrees, this makes her a lot more challenging to work with. But just like with Dupont and with Flipflop, I found a technique that works for her. Dahlia comes out with us in the morning for a short walk, usually about 20 minutes, long enough for her to relieve herself and lay in the grass. Then we walk her back home, where she happily runs to her bed and Flipflop (and foster if there is one) and I continue our walk.
It’s not ideal on weekday mornings when I have to get to work, but I know the importance of not forcing a dog to be out in the heat, especially if they are sensitive to it.