All dogs face serious health risks during the summer months when the weather heats up. Protection dogs face similar challenges because they:
- Often spend the majority of their time on the job (guarding your property and family)
- Are working dogs and not traditional merely family pets
The following summer care tips apply to all dogs, regardless of size, breed or age, but they are particularly important for protection dogs.
1. Keep Your Protection Dog Hydrated
Make sure that your protection dog has plenty of water throughout the day. And remember that on really hot and dry days, water evaporates quickly. It may be worth investing in a spill-proof water bowl — especially if your dog is unsupervised for large portions of the day.
2. Shade Your Trained German Shepherd Dog
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is one of the fastest ways to overheat your protection dog. Because canines don’t sweat the way humans do, it’s much harder for them to release heat buildup throughout the body.
Make sure that he or she has access to shade throughout the day. And don’t make the mistake of relying on doghouses. According to the American Kennel Club, these common backyard abodes can become heat traps during the summer months.
3. Proper Grooming (Fur Is Good)
Many dog owners wrongly believe that summer fur is bad. And they try to remove as much hair as possible when the weather starts heating up.
This is a common mistake.
Much like the insulation in your home, a dog’s layered fur actually traps cool air during the summer months and warm air during the winter months. It’s a bit counterintuitive. But your trained protection dog will be better off if you only remove loose hair that has already started to shed naturally.
This fur also blocks out UV rays, reducing your protection dog’s risk of sunburn and skin cancer. This is especially important for younger guard dogs.
4. Overheating Symptoms
It’s important that you understand the most common signs of overheating. Throughout the day, you should regularly monitor your guard dog for:
- Breathing difficulties and excessive panting
- Drooling and foaming at the mouth
- Lethargy, weakness or collapse
- Seizures, vomiting or bloody stools
At the first sign of trouble, you should bring your trained protection dog indoors to cool down and hydrate. If the problem continues, take your protection dog to the veterinarian right away.
Protect Your Dog and It Will Protect You
Protection dogs will work tirelessly day and night to keep your family safe. And they will do so without complaining or asking for anything in return.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t have needs.
Make sure that your canine friend has all the resources required to stay cool during blistering summer months. The more time you invest in your dog’s health and comfort, the more energy it’ll have to do what it does best — protect you and your loved ones.