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Hi all - it's warming up and my boy Blue's feeling it. He's 6 months right now and still very black and is feeling the heat as a result. He's a black and red/tan and I've been told that there's still plenty of time for much of that black to recede, but I'm curious if anyone does anything to help a mostly black dog stay cool.

I intend to do a lot of hiking, camping, and backpacking with him and wondered if there was some grooming I could do to keep him cool - shave his belly?

A couple weeks ago we went on a hike in the desert - it was a warm day, but not too bad and the white dogs on the trip did fine, but poor Blue - I had to ruffle his fur now and then to let the heat out.

Should I be getting the furbinator out and getting his undercoat off?

I'm no expert on GSD grooming - I figure if he's clean he's good - so don't hold back on the advice.

Thanks!

~ L'aura
 

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My Black Shep Colby ( RIP) loved the snow in the winter, and his kiddie pool in the summer!
 

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whatever you do don't shave him. their coats are insulated to protect them from the heat and cold. they don't sweat like we do - they pant to cool off. (believe it or not, greyhounds get hotter than huskies)

i live in los angeles with a 90% black gsd and she's survived 8 summers so far. keeping her out of direct sunlight & keeping her hydrated are the only 'tricks' ive learned. she swims alot and i hose her down from time to time, but that usually gets her excited then she runs around all crazy which ends up exerting more energy. but its fun.

i'm personally not a fan of the furminator (*shock* i know) but if you do choose to try it, i'd avoid using it in a pup until his full coat has come in.

ps.

a few more things - i 2nd the kiddie pool suggestion. get one now - they sell out quick!

i'd keep hiking & backpacking to morning and evening hours when its cooler.

and last but not least, i would limit the use of the a/c indoors on days that you're planning to do outdoor activities because that creates more of a temperature change that they have to adjust to.
 

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Originally Posted By: Camerafodder



i'm personally not a fan of the furminator (*shock* i know) but if you do choose to try it, i'd avoid using it in a pup until his full coat has come in.
I would love to hear the cons to the furminator before I buy one. LOL.
 

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I had a very black bi-colored boy. He loved ice cubes. One boating trip we took in July, we found him down below asleep with his head in his ice bucket!
 

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Originally Posted By: SunCzarinaI had a very black bi-colored boy. He loved ice cubes. One boating trip we took in July, we found him down below asleep with his head in his ice bucket!
OOO! Ya! I forgot about 'ice bones'.

~ L'aura
 

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As far as grooming, I agree with camerafodder. You do not want to shave any hair. Your grooming should be to eliminate loose hair.

For planning hikes.
I also try to keep it to mornings and early evenings.

Water source - Not just what you carry, but possibly a natural source as a destination/way station on the hike. I always carry water, but when it is very warm I may also carry something to mist the dog. Try to go places where there are natural (and clean!)water sources- creeks, ponds, etc. I also try to plan to be down in valleys where there is tree coverage as it gets warmer.

Kayla also doesn't do hot so I plan around that issue. Hot days, we may go to a beach park.
 

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Ris is pretty dark in color and there are practically no trees on our regular walking trip.
With temperatures often in the 100s even after work, it can get pretty warm fast. I have, on occasion, soaked a light-colored T-shirt and put it on Ris before we go out. The lighter color helps reflect some of the heat she'd otherwise absorb and the evaporation helps keep her cool. Especially around the armpits and underneath in her hip area. There are a lot of blood vessels running through those spots and cooling a dog off there can help cool the entire body faster. The T-shirt I use is pretty light-weight. . .and Ris is a single-coated dog so I don't think it makes her much warmer than going outside naked would.

I also try and take her swimming since she can burn off energy longer without overheating.
 

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Originally Posted By: Mai
Originally Posted By: Camerafodder

i'm personally not a fan of the furminator (*shock* i know) but if you do choose to try it, i'd avoid using it in a pup until his full coat has come in.
I would love to hear the cons to the furminator before I buy one. LOL.
its just not my style of grooming tool. the teeth are very small and close so it doesnt seem to penetrate the coat enough for me... it does pull alot of hair out, but so do rakes. its always funny to me that they have a golden retriever in most of their advertisements but it did nothing for my golden. i'd recommend it for dobies, dalmations, etc.

on my LH boy it just kinda skips across his coat. on my female i suspect that it pulls out too much of her top coat so i stopped using it. they say not to comb too long in one area because it can cause a thin patch - but with just a few strokes i see black hairs coming out instead of grey which is the color of her undercoat hairs.

for every one person like myself who hates them, there are probably 5-7 people who love it, so i'd just recommend try it before buy it
 

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Like others have mentioned, keep the undercoat brushed out as much as you can. For LH GSDs and other double coated breeds, there is a great tool that is sold in most grooming supply catalogs. The original is called a coat king, there is also a mat king and several other knock offs. Look for one with the teeth/blades farther apart, the fine ones don't work all that well. Be careful though, they have a curve to them so the sharp part doesn't touch the skin but don't use it around any loose skin flaps.

A great summer treat for them is simply freezing a raw egg, give it to them shell and all.
 

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Definitely don't shave your dog in the summer.

Unlike people, dogs only have the ability to sweat through their paws, not their whole bodies. They have two mechanisms to help them cope with the heat: panting and their fur. The fur helps trap air between the layers, which helps regulate the body temperature at the skin level to some extent.

In order for that to work properly, the fur should be brushed frequently to keep it free of mats, tangles, dirt, and anything else that shouldn't be there.

When you shave a dog, you actually make them more sensible to the heat because you're taking their fur's protection away, both in terms of its regulatory function, but also in terms of sun protection. When a dog is shaved, they are much more susceptible to sunburn. Their bellies are particularly sensitive if you walk on a surface that reflects heat / sun like asphalt roads, tarmac at an airfield, and the like.

There are a couple of things you can do to help your dog feel more comfortable in summer beyond brushing.

The first is to get your dog used to the warmer temperatures - dogs, like humans, can adapt to temperature / climate changes by being exposed to them more. If you normally keep the temperature in your home at 72 degrees, consider turning your AC off and putting a fan on instead, or setting the AC higher so it doesn't kick in until it gets to 80 or 90 degrees. That helps get your dog's body (and your own) used to the hotter temperatures.

The second thing is to really be on top of watering your dog, especially when you are exercising or hiking. The rule of thumb for humans in the middle of summer is that you should drink one cup of water every 15 minutes when exercising in the heat. A good rule of thumb for dogs is to offer them water every time you have it. I taught my dog to drink from a water bottle / canteen, so we don't have to stop long to unpack water bowls, etc.

The third thing is to cool your dog off whenever it is needed. If your dog looks like he's overheating or is panting heavily, then it's probably a good time to cool him down. Use cool water, never ice cold (freezing water is too much of a shock to the system) and cool down the sides of the dog's chest, stomach, and inside of the rear legs. Those are the areas major blood vessels run through. Cooling those areas will help the whole body cool.

Lastly, there are a number of cooling products you can use to help your dog stay comfortable in the heat. There are cooling neckbands or bandanas, cooling mats, and a variety of cooling vests. I tested a number of those products last year and you can read more about my Summer Safety test and reviews for the products I tested here - http://abbyk9.blogspot.com/2007/07/summer-heat-study.htm
 
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