Caring For Your Chow Chow in Summer Months

Summer months, much like winter months, require special care of dogs.  Temperatures flare, making it unsafe for dogs to remain outside for long periods of time.  This can be affected more by the breed of dog and where you live.  For this, I'm going to focus on the breed of dog known as the Chow chow (or just Chow for short).   

Chows are short, stout dogs, recognizable by a thick double coat, shortened snout, and a curled tail carried closely to its back.  During the spring and summer, the outer coat is shed.  To help with the shedding, a shedding brush is recommeded.  A brush made specifically for fur that's shedding, is made to be able to push the fur out of the brush, usually with a button that slides the fur forward, off the brush.  This helps the dead fur to fall off faster, making your dog much more comfortable in the hot weather.  Usiing this type of brush also helps to kep the amount of fur shed imside your home to a minimum.  Some people choose to shave their chows during the hot summer months.  Usually this is to just save time with the shedding problem, as well as to keep the dog cool.  If you choose this route for your Chow, please note that the head and "mane" area should never be shaved.  The rest of the dog may be shaved.  If you shave your Chow, only allow it outside for short periods of time, and make sure it has a shaded area to rest in.  Chows skin will also need to be protected with some type of lotion or spray, because they have sensitive skin that can be prone to sunburn and other skin conditions.  Shaving your Chow, may not really help with heat however.  It is recommened by some to never shave your Chow, because the coat is meant to be able to insulate from cold and heat.  AKC standards call for the coat to not be shapped or trimmed in any way.  The best way to keep your Chow cool, is to maintain reguar grooming.  Make sure it is free of mats and tangles and give your Chow regular baths, at least once a month or more frequently.  Dirt trapped in your Chow's fur, or mats, can cause your Chow to become over heated.   

Whether or not your Chow is outside at all times, or only during small parts of the day, it will need to have a dog house or other type shelter, plus plenty of other shade available to help keep it cool.  Make sure that you provide your Chow with plenty of water.  The best product to make sure your Chow has suffiicient water is a self watering bowl.  The larger you get for your Chow, the better.  Chows, as well as other long and thick furred dogs, tend to drink more when it is hot.  A reguar bowl filled with water, or a self watering bowl that is only a gallon or less, will run out quickly with your Chow.  If your Chow is compleletly shaved, or still has all its fur in tact, make sure that during the hottest part of the day, when the sun is at its highest, you bring your Chow indoors.  If you cannot bring your Chow indoors, refer to the above statement about having a dog house available for your Chow, as well as other shady options. 

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