Expert advice on How to make a dog’s life worth living when the heat waves come
By ANNE ELIZABETH and VICTOR BLOCHIN
WHEN THE first really warm days of summer come, there is a certain altruistic madness which seizes most dog owners. The painful sight of an animated fur coat puffing and panting around the house (and incidentally shedding hairs over the furniture and rugs) drives them to sympathetic and sometimes drastic action. As there is as yet no seasonal cold storage for fur that barks, its unsusjxcting bearer is usually whisked off to have it summarily removed. That this operation can lx performed both quickly and, for the most ¡xrt, painlessly, has caused it to be regarded as a general panacea for hot dogs of almost every description. The patient is clipped or shaved, or, as his coat may indicate and if his owner is a purist in canine barbering, plucked or "stripped.” Just how a winter coat should be shed in a few minutes, requires some consideration. The general rule for the socalled double-coated dog. which includes several of the most popular breeds of terrier, is that “stripping,”or pulling out the old coat and leaving the soft undercoat beneath, is usually preferable. Clipping is a surface trim only, and leaves a short stubble of old coat still intact, eventually to be shed or lx brushed out. Both methods have their uses.
There is the odd dog, even among those which should normally lx stripjxd or jilucked, like the Airedales, the Scotties, the Wire and Irish terriers, which is born minus the usual year-round undershirt Pull off his overcoat and what have you? He becomes a temjxxary nudist! The
experienced handler or veterinary can usually sjx>t such a coat before any damage is done—but if he does not. you’ll have a Mexican Hairless on your hands for a while. If you feel you simply have to
trim such a dog, and can’t wait to comb out the long coat gradually while a new coat slowly comes along, clipping is the solution. There will be enough old coat left to cover him until the new can grow. So also is clipping best, where there is any chronic skin trouble, or where a dog is abnormally sensitive. If, by misadventure, your dog is suddenly rendered bald by stripping, the only thing to do is to give him a jacket for a time. Without it, he can acquire a terribly sudden and angry sunburn. A little cotton “duster” will serve to protect him, and some vaseline or lanolin rubbed on the skin will encourage new growth and prevent drying and tanning. Some such precaution is really necessary if you do not want your jxt to take on the leathery asjxct of a well-cured ham, or be looked upon askance es a victim of skin disease. He can actually look that bad !
No matter what his coat’s tyjx, any dog requires some adjustment to the change that is brought about by removing it, regardless of the method. His whole metabolism is changed with its loss, and, unless the weather is very hot,
a light jacket for outside wear should be provided for a few days after trimming. Should the weather turn suddenly damp or chilly, this is very necessary if you do not want him to suffer or catch cold. Head colds, pneumonia, tonsillitis and kidney upsets have been traced to stripping without adequate protection, at all seasons, summer included.
The long-haired dogs like collies, Newfoundlands, setters and so on, should never have their coats removed. Their long fur is an insulation against heat. After summer clipping, their lionlike apparitions are not as funny as they are pathetic. Try going for a walk bareheaded in the hot sun with your head shaved—particularly when you’ve been used all your life to a hat ! You’ll realize then how your dog feels. It is better to be content with grooming this logically untrimmable type of dog. Comb or wirebrush him well to get out the old dead coat. By thinning it you will relieve him, and by leaving some of the straight long overcoat, you will protect him.
Soft or curly-haired terriers, like the Kerry Blues and
Bedlingtons, are correctly trimmed by hand, with the comb and scissors, but there are only a fewskilled dog handlers who really understand the tedious process. It is an expensive item for the ordinary pet. Clipping, therefore, is the most expedient method of relieving these “woollies” of old, shaggy coat. The same holds true of Irish water spaniels, French poodles and cocker spaniels. It may not be exactly according to Hoyle, but it’s the next best choice, if you are not prepared to spend a great deal of time on the grooming yourself, or a good deal of money to have an expert do it.
Coolness from Within
1 I TIE REALLY best insurance for your dog’s health and comfort during hot weather is an adjustment of his diet to cooling foods. Most summer skin trouble also can be avoided by this simple method. Whatever popular belief has taught you to the contrary, the most suitable food for hot weather is meat, preferably raw, mixed with a fractional amount of bran for roughage, green vegetable or tomato juice, and just a little dry breakfast cereal or twice-cooked crusts. A small terrier
should consume half a pound of meat a day, a mediumsized dog, three quarters of a pound, a large dog, at least a pound. A dog should be ted approximately a pound of meat to every forty pounds of weight. A change to boiled or canned non-fatty fish like haddock or cod is excellent, and cooked liver once a week acts as a natural laxative. A good bowl of cool milk, fortified with egg, is the best meal ever in really torrid weather, and a wise dog will relish it and ask for nothing better. Buttermilk is a good thirst-quencher and a fine food, in one. The heating foods are starches in any quantity—cereals, bread, biscuits.
If your dog is fed on meat and vegetables, and given a little extra calcium sprinkled from a salt shaker and mixed with the food (triple calcium phosphate at any drugstore), he will not develop the agonizing itching eczema that hot weather so often brings out. If he already has it, this diet will correct it. In conjunction with absolutely starchless feeding, this wash, dabbed on the “spots,” will dry them up if they are moist, or cool them off if they are hot. dry and itchy. Used faithfully, it will remove them completely: Balsam of Peru, one dram; Creolin (Pearson), fifteen drops; medicated alcohol, four ounces. Mix together and shake well. If the hair surrounding is matted or caked, cut it away. If the skin is too raw to stand the sting of alcohol in this mixture, substitute a dry dressing or dusting powder. The best is bismuth formic iodide, the well-known B.F.I. powder, procurable at any druggist’s. When the spot is healed, a little vaseline or lanolin will help the hair to grow again, or protect the skin from sunburn in the meantime. It’s all very simple, but so few people know it! The worst thing to do is to wash those “hot spots” with soap and warm water. It will only make them worse. It is also a mistake to deny your dog meat and feed him nothing but dry foods, which must of necessity be starchy.
On a villainously hot day the best place in the house for a dog—the logical place if you have one—is the cellar. The tiled or linoleum-covered bathroom floor is a good substitute. If he is terribly overheated and panting, put the dog in the bathtub and allow the cold tap to run gently on the back of his head, at the base of the skull.
Outside, there’s many a cool pleasaunce where he can be comfortable and safe, if unmolested by flies. Sprinkle him gently, or dip him in a tub of water if he is a small dog, then let him lie quietly somewhere in the shade, with a bowl of water beside him. He can be all adrip, happy as a clam and just as wet, for his own good. Even a little puppy will dig himself a trough of refreshing damp earth to lie in, if he has no other way of cooling himself.
The earth is a dog’s own icebox, too. When he buries a bone, he is preserving it as surely as though he had put it in a cold larder. That is the way he keeps his bones fit for consumption--not necessarily a method of seasoning them. He is putting them somewhere that flies and sun can’t spoil them, and you may be amazed some day to find how fresh something he has buried will remain.
IF, WHEN you give your dog that cooling dip, you put a teaspoonful or so of Creolin in the tub of water, it will do his fur no harm and will give it a nice clean smell that will automatically say “Shoo, fly !” to the hordes that molest him.
Another good “dip” is a sulphur solution. The old nostrum of putting a piece of sulphur in a dog’s drinking water “to cool his blood” is about as effective as the human fetishes of carrying a piece of carbon in the pocket to cure rheumatism, or wearing a bag of asafetida around the neck to ward off contagion !
A dessertspoonful to a tablespoonful of milk of magnesia twice a week, will really cool his blood, and one part of the following mixture, diluted with ten parts of water, not only will cool his skin, but will clear up every sort of skin trouble and parasite.
Sulphur Dip—Make a strong or mother solution as follows: Sulphur, one lb.;
dehydrated lime, one-half lb.; water, one gallon. Boil until red. Allow to settle. Pour off clear liquid. Mark container “Strong Sulphur Solution.” Add one part of this mixture to ten of water for the dip. May be repeated at eight-day intervals in very serious skin infections. Three dips are the maximum.
Yes, it is good to be “beforehanded” when caring for a dog. You may count on certain eventualities, and fleas and flies are two of them. Fleas aren’t a disgrace. Any dog that lies in the grass in summer is likely to get them, for that is where they breed, particularly in sandy soil. Quite beside the misery that fleas inflict—and they can drive an animal nearly insane—they are actually dangerous to his health, for they are the hosts of tapeworm. As the vicious circle goes on, tapeworm infestation will in turn bring out itching eczema. So if you find that your dog simply cannot seem to throw off skin trouble, in spite of strict
feeding, local applications and dips, march him off to the veterinary and have him “tried” for tapeworm.
But to start at the root of the evil. When summer comes, you usually like to air bedding and put rugs out in the sun to be freshened up. Do the same thing with your dog’s bedding—wash it, and put it away. A dog is better without pillows or blankets in summer. What he should have is a bed of cedar. You can buy cedar excelsior, which is the ideal bedding, or you can pick some fresh cedar boughs and stuff a cushion with the soft greenery. Cedar sawdust is good for stuffing cushions too, provided they are not packed too tight. Powder the dog with any good commercial flea powder or ordinary pyrethrum powder, which is procurable at any druggist’s and is the basis of most insect powders. Powder the inside of his bed or basket, after you have wiped it out with kerosene. Don’t wash him with strong “flea soaps.” The Creolin Dip, in fairly cool water, is the thing. Hot water and soap so remove the natural oil from a dog’s skin that they produce an itchy condition whether he had one previously or not. Occasional bathing with mild soap—one that wouldn't hurt a baby—and careful rinsing won’t hurt him once in a great while, if he is hopelessly dirty. But a dog should be kept clean by j grooming, not by washing.
When a dog is left outside, he simply i must be protected against flies. His ears, the skin around his nose and eyes and other sensitive spots, are their favorite places of stinging attack. So cover these spots with a coating of salve or grease—plain or carbolated vaseline, zinc or sulphur ointment, j
IF THE general public could only recognize the different types of distress from which dogs suffer and knew how to handle relief measures, it would save many a dog’s life, as well as prevent countless senseless and cruel “mad dog” scares. Most dogs in distress in summer are suffering from sunstroke. heat fits or just plain thirst and desperation in trying to find water. What a blessed mercy it would be if shopkeepers would just set out a big open mixing bowl of the cheapest kindness this world affords man or beast in hot weather—a drink of water. Won’t everybody that reads this article make some effort to see that there is water set out in a cool but prominent place in front of their homes, their apartments or their places of business? Yes, I know strays shouldn’t be at large. But remember that some day the dog that falls dying in the heat for the mere want of a lap of water, or is killed as “mad,” may be your own lost pet.
First and foremost, we should realize that a mad dog is a real rarity. Hydrophobia is rare because it can only be transmitted by salivary infection from an afflicted creature. Even the bite of an affected animal causes rabies in only thirty per cent of such cases. This continent would very likely scarcely have given it consideration as a possible danger to dogs or human beings, had not the introduction to the United States of a one-shot method of inoculation from Japan, opened up an avenue of commercial profit. Pasteur’s wonderful discovery and treatment has been perverted before with evil result. His method, one of the greatest blessings of the age in human practice, requires numerous injections of serum.
In Canada, during twenty years, there have been scarcely a dozen cases of rabies. As in England, isolation and observation are the methods of control most used, and they work.
The editor of the English Dog World, writing on the subject of the recent threat of enforced inoculation in New Jersey, which has thrown American dog owners into the battle of their lives against compulsory vaccination, writes: “How thank| ful we in England can be that, owing to | our wise Government quarantine regula1 tions, we are free from the ghastly peril of j rabies.” And speaking further of the effort ¡ to enforce the rabies bill in New Jersey: “There is no feeling about licensing or muzzling, but the vaccination is looked upon as a racket.” She further quotes the American Dog World, which says: “Rabies is not seasonal. It has no dependence on the weather. Mere frothing at the mouth is not indication of rabies. Many dogs are murdered by unthinking people and police officers who mistake a harmless ailment, hysteria or fits, for rabies. Rabies does not come of its own accord or ‘grow’ within the dog. It can be contracted only from the bite or saliva of an animal in the adult stages of rabies. It is agreed by medical and veterinary authorities that inoculation against rabies requires twenty to thirty days to build up resistance, gives immun ity for less than a year’s time, and in some cases may not be effective. Quarantine of all rabid dogs, and dogs bitten by them, for sixty days will eliminate the disease.” The English believe that the quarantine should extend for six months. Theirs is authoritative knowledge. They have eliminated the disease entirely. It would be well if we all listened to them.
FIRST LET it be known then, that a dog having a fit or frothing at the mouth, is not a so-called “mad’’ dog. Those very symptoms prove it. In torrid weather, a dog so afflicted is suffering from a heat fit. caused by congestion of blood in the brain. He may be “crazy with the heat,” but he is not suffering from hydrophobia. He is bewildered, bumping into things at which
he may snap, but he will not bite anything or anybody that keeps out of his way. The first thing to do is to keep people from gathering around him, and to enlist the aid of some quiet and unafraid person—a policeman if he is not too quick with the revolver—to help get the dog to a cool and quiet place. Anyone who handles him should, in common sense, be careful.
If you are able to grasp the dog tightly behind the ears (the nape of the neck or “scruff”) it cannot bite you. and may be transported safely to any desired place. If it is a heavy animal, a grip may be taken in the hair or loose skin over the rump (in addition to the neck hold), or the arm placed underneath the body at the hips in order to relieve the weight. Darkness will greatly soothe the animal and help recovery. A cellar is ideal, a shady shed, or wherever there is cool shelter and peace.
Don't throw water on a dog in a fit! The first remedial measure is to get something cold to his head. Cold water from a hose or tap, cold cloths wrung from a bucket or ice broken up in a bag or rag. And at the same time he should have warmth applied to the body, cloths dipped and wrung out of hot water, a hot water bottle, or an electric pad. The idea is to get the blood away from the brain.
The next most common form of distress is sunstroke. The animal, with eyes bloodshot and protruding, is prostrated, panting in great groaning gasps as though each breath would be his last. In this case, do throw water on the dog. But don’t drown him! He is suffering from terrible de-
hydration of his entire system, and must make up in any way possible the water he has lost by this parching of his tissues. Put him in a bath if he is a small animal, not ice cold but of a mild temperature. Don’t try to thrust v'ater down his throat. Carry or drag him on a rug or mat or blanket, to a cool place, or make some sort of shelter by stretching a sheet or blanket over him.
Dogs in Motor Cars
T-TEAT STROKE is the most unexpected *■ -*• kind of heat prostration, and one of the worst. It may occur even on a grey, muggy day when it is not terribly hot, but oppressive. It is the sort of thing that happens when we say: “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.” It is caused by a lack of oxygen in the system, and if a dog overexercises on such a day, it is very likely to occur. Being shut up in close quarters— a stuffy kennel, or a closed car parked even in the shade—will produce it.
Before collapse occurs, the animal seems very depressed and exhausted, but one ',ddom sees this sort of thing coming on. Usually the dog is just found lying unconscious somewhere, and if he has been in this condition for any length of time, it may be serious. Do not use water or ice. Remove the dog to a place where it is cool and airy. Rub the entire body vigorously w-hile fanning the head to stimulate circulation of air. ’Then the patient comes to, give aromatic spirits of ammonia (a half teaspoonful in w'ater) every tw'enty or thirty minutes until revived.
Dogs often have died in motor cars from
this type of prostration, in the cars of the people who loved them and would not thinkingly have caused them suffering. If you are travelling in summer and take your dog with you, there are certain precautions to be observed. Don’t leave him in the closed car while you go off somewhere to relax, or bathe, or eat. If you cannot take him with you, tie him in the shade of the car itself, or under a tree, or find for him some other cool retreat. Bring him a drink of water or let him lick an icecream cone when you stop for refreshments yourself. Ice cream is one of the best foods for a dog in summer, for it is cooling, nourishing and, being a milk product, full of the calcium he needs. Don’t let anyone make fun of your offering it to your pet. They just don’t know.
Some general rules to remember if you love your dog are these: If you are hot, if you are thirsty, remember that he is more so. If you are perspiring freely, thank heaven for it. Remember that it is a cooling luxury and a relief he cannot hope for. He can only perspire through his dripping tongue and possibly a little from the pads of his feet. So, if he pants and isn’t very dainty about it, remember it is his only way of throwing off heat. Don’t muzzle him so that he cannot open his mouth and let his tongue loll out. He wall suffocate if you do. He needs water, water everywhere—over him, inside him and to stand in. Put it out for the strays, the horses, the birds. But above all, remember your own pet, and the fact that no wet dog is ever a hot dog.