With summer now in full swing, goldens face a few extra challenges. The first is increased itching and hot spots. Many goldens have some kind of allergic symptoms to heat and humidity and moisture. Be sure they are dried thoroughly after swimming as the wet hair against the skin will lead to a hot spot. Be especially careful around the ears where a dog can scratch and irritate the skin. They develop a moist eczema. If the area is NOT moist and weepy, you can try a wet tea bag to the area and dust it with Gold Bond Powder. It is best to trim the hair around the irritation to expose it to the air. If it is weepy and moist, it is best to see the vet for the most effective treatment. You may need to use a tee shirt or other device to keep the dog from licking or scratching the area.
We do NOT recommend shaving your golden's fur in summer. Bare skin will burn if a shaved golden is outside in the hot sun for even a few minutes. Goldens are double coated and as the weather warms, they begin to shed the undercoat that warms them in the cold. Now is the time to pay special attention to coat care and use an undercoat rake to get rid of that undercoat. You will be amazed at the amount of undercoat you will comb out. If you don't want to spend the time or energy, have a groomer bathe and comb out the undercoat. The remaining outer coat will act to insulate the body from the heat. In very old dogs with heavy coats, shaving only the belly area will also help keep them cooler. If the undercoat is not removed, when it becomes wet, it will cause mats and that will cause hot spots.
Second come mosquitoes and the threat of transmitting heartworms to dogs after an infected mosquito bites them. Many incoming TVGRR goldens are treated for this life threatening disease yearly. Treatments are often harsh but usually effective in eliminating the disease and are expensive. The heartbreaking reality is that heartworms are preventable with a monthly heartworm chew tablet obtained from a vet. Yearly heartworm blood tests are recommended to insure your golden doesn't have them even if they are given the preventative medicine.
The third summer challenge rolls around this time of year with the Fourth of July holiday season.Starting at the end of June, fireworks are sure to cause panic and anxiety in many goldens. Your dog should be kept inside with you; but during those times when the boom and roar of fireworks fill the air, it's best to take them to a small room or inner area of the house with no windows. The quieter atmosphere soothes them and helps them relax. Some owners claim that the thundershirts or anxiety wraps that fit closely to the dog's body are effective in calming their dog. Be sure to think ahead and be prepared for this not-so-relaxing-to-animals holiday time of year. If the dog begins to be anxious, try playing and or keeping your routines normal. Sometimes anti anxiety medicine may be required from your vet if the dog has a real panic attack. There are some over the counter homeopathic (natural) remedies that may also help calm the dog. If you know your dog is anxious, please don't leave it alone if you know there will be fireworks.
A fourth precaution is for active golden owners. If your dog runs or jogs with you in the cooler months, be aware that it is wise to stop or greatly reduce the time and distance in the heat of the summer. Dogs cannot cool their body temperature by sweating as we do. They pant and it is not as efficient a cooling technique. Your loyal buddy will run until he/she drops from heat exhaustion which can quickly become heat stroke. This is an emergency and often fatal condition. Best to leave him/her home and resume his/her running in the cooler months. Also when walking your dog, be aware that the sidewalk can be very hot to foot pads. If the temperature is high put your hand on the sidewalk and check. Better still, keep the dog walking on the grassy areas only.
The last reminder is don't take your golden with you and leave him/her in a vehicle!!
Extreme heat builds within minutes in a vehicle parked in the summer heat--even in the shade with the windows cracked. Goldens are susceptible to overheating, so be safe and don't risk an avoidable tragedy.
With a few precautions and help from you, your golden will enjoy summer. They'll thank you with big, sloppy kisses, wagging tails, and happy smiles. Could there be a better reward?