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There should be a special club for dogs, like me, who live out their lives in desert climates. Us girls and boys are particularly badass. It takes a special kind of “cool factor” to embrace the desert lifestyle and find a way to chill (literally and figuratively)…while avoiding all potentially life threatening risks that only come with desert living.
One way you know if you’re a cool desert dog is how many pairs of stylish sunglasses you own. Any desert dog knows, sunglasses aren’t just for humans when you live in the desert. Those rays are intense and are just as dangerous for dogs as they are for humans. Protecting our eyes is just one of the things desert dogs have to do to stay healthy and happy in the scorching summer heat.
Thank goodness there are some fashionable options to choose from, get your Mom or Dad to slide a pair of these beauties on you and jump on your floaty and forget about that intense summer heat for a while. But don’t forget, dogs can get sunburned too…and desert dogs are particularly at risk with very little shade and tree cover.
My Mom keeps my coat cut short so I can go swimming every day without getting dreadlocks, and I’m particularly white under all those curls…that means I have to pay special attention to sunburns in the summer months when I’m spending a lot of time in the pool. Any other desert dogs out there, listen up…sunburns suck. Probably more for dogs than humans.
There is ONE thing you absolutely must know about protecting yourself from sunburns as a desert dog. If your Mom and Dad don’t know this, it could put your life at risk.
Most human sunscreens have something called Zinc Oxide in them. It’s really effective for humans, but toxic for us dogs. It can damage your red blood cells, causing them to explode. Whoa! Betcha didn’t know that, and I bet you will be paying particular attention to stay away as your human friends spray that sunscreen by the pool.
But don’t be dismayed!
A real desert dog knows to be careful of Zinc, but also knows that Pet-Specific Products are the best measure to protect against those harsh UV rays. One other solution for dogs (like me) who don’t like slathering themselves with cream is the UV-protective clothing. This can be a great way to protect your back while you’re enjoying swimming in the pool.
The only thing that sucks more than a sunburn is burning your paws. Serious ouch.
Pet parents out there, please…PLEASE…don’t forget how hot the ground can get. It’s summer, and any desert dog knows that just a few hours into a hot day (and EVERY day is a hot day in the desert) the pavement is already hot.
You know how other dogs look when you see them put on booties or shoes for the first time?
The way they run around like a baby deer that just stood up for the first time?
Well that is what you’ll look like if your person forgets how hot black asphalt (or any type of ground for that matter) actually is and sets you down absent-mindedly. Only thing worse than how stupid you’ll look is how much pain you’ll actually be in.
Here’s a little advice on ways to avoid burning your paws, from a dog who’s lived in the desert her whole life.
NEVER jump out of the car when the door is opened. Wait for your person to come and get you, and if you get the sense (even for a second) that they are going to put you down start looking for shade. You’ll only have a few seconds to spot it before you’re eye level with the ground, so you’re going to want scour fast. Then you run your hind of as fast as you can to wherever that shade is. It could be your salvation. Trust me, your paw pads will thank you later.
Also, I’ve found it’s helpful to wriggle.
Put up a fight as they begin to put you down. Maybe it’ll jog their memory before they absentmindedly sentence you to cruel and unusual punishment. Not that they mean to.
The fun and sun can be absolutely enjoyable if you take these precautions (and stay hydrated, but that’s an obvious one). BUT one thing that ruins my fun is when the sun goes down. My Mom says I have to stay inside because the coyotes are out after dark. I believe her though.
The other week one of the dogs on my street was out after dark in the backyard, I guess his Mom thought it would be okay to let him go outside ALONE to go potty REAL QUICK. I mean, the backyard was fenced in and we live in a gated community. I was laying in my bed in the living room, chewing on my beef trachea (those are the best) when I heard my neighbor dog yelping. My Mom and Dad heard too, and looked concerned. I knew why he was yelping right away…those coyote howls are very easy to place. The pack had snatched up the small dog and killed it for dinner.
If you’re a smart desert dog, like me, you too have a healthy fear of coyotes and of the dark.
The good news is, just stay inside and you won’t have to fear a pack of coyotes. Snuggle up next to your Mom or Dad, enjoy the cool indoor air-conditioning (no doubt if you’re a desert dog your parents keep that AC on high) and remember to stay cool my friends.
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