This morning Rumpy decided he wanted to sit outside awhile in the cool morning air, so I took the opportunity to give his coat a good brushing.
I haven’t been as attentive to Rumpy’s coat as I should, and it shows. While I was brushing him, I thought, “I wish I could just shave all this off and start all over again.” Maybe you’ve wondered if you should shave your dog.
Before you do that, I suggest you research your dog’s breed.
With Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies, the coat is thick in the winter to keep the dog warm. But it also acts to cool the dog in the summer. Shaving these breeds is not advised, because without the coat they cannot regulate their temperature and are at greater risk of heatstroke. The skin is also subject to sunburn.
Rumpy and I take our walks in the morning when it’s cool outside; on my days off we sometimes take two morning walks. I also offer him the opportunity to walk in the evening. Sometimes he will, and sometimes he won’t. He knows what’s right for him, and I trust his judgement.
We stick to shadier streets to walk down. And I monitor him to make sure he’s OK.
Florida is not an ideal climate for an Alaskan Malamute, but Rumpy is an inside dog, so he’s fine. Keeping a Malamute or Husky outside in this climate is not a good idea. A Malamute’s body temperature averages to 101F, and can quickly go over 103F, which puts him or her at risk of heat stroke. Darker coats, like Rumpy’s, absorb heat, and put the dog at even more risk.
Shaded yards, wading pools, ice blocks, and cooling fans all help when your dog is outside, but a Malamute in Florida really shouldn’t be outside in the heat of the day for long periods of time.
A coat like Rumpy’s needs to be brushed regularly. Honestly, a daily brushing would be ideal for Rumpy, but it’s not happening now. I do brush regularly, to get the leftover winter undercoat loosened. Now that it’s warm outside, it’s time for his annual bath. That’s right, an Alaskan Malamute grooms itself, so regular baths aren’t necessary. But he does need one a couple of times a year, and now’s a good time to get the rest of that undercoat off him.
Do you know what’s recommended for your breed of dog? If not, I suggest the web site of a reputable breeder. While you may think asking your vet is a good idea, I actually had a vet once tell me I should get Rumpy shaved, and I had to school him on why that’s not a good idea. He wasn’t happy that I bruised his ego, but hey, no one knows everything!
What summer care does your breed of dog require?