No close shave
Dear Heloise: My dog has a thick coat, and I’m tempted to shave him down for the summer; I just think all that fur is heavy and hot. Is this a good idea? I’ll wait for your response in the Express-News. — Melissa C. in San Antonio
Hi, Melissa! It’s normal to think hair or fur would be hot and uncomfortable for the dog, but let’s look at what’s really going on.
The dog’s coat is actually acting like a shield from the heat in the summer, and as insulation from the cold in the winter. To remove all that fur would deny the animal that protection from the heat, and could expose him to sunburn and more serious ailments like cancer.
Experts agree: Shaving the dog is not a good idea. A professional groomer can remove loose hairs, but natural shedding can do the same. Check with your veterinarian as well.
If the dog is outside a lot, provide shade and fresh, clean water. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have a water fountain that the birds can’t seem to stay away from. They jump in it (I don’t mind that), but they also use it as their bathroom. What can I do to keep them out?
Thank you. I read your column daily in the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. — Suzie C., Dayton, Ohio
Hi, Suzie! Here are some ideas, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov):
Make sure food sources are kept away from the fountain (trees and shrubs that produce fruits, nuts and berries).Feeders containing birdseed should not be present.Trim back branches so birds can’t alight over the fountain.
Dear Readers: The following is a message from a foster coordinator to folks who want to foster dogs from a shelter. It’s critical to make sure all the animals will get along. Read on. — Heloise
“Dear Heloise: Integration is the art of placing your current pets safely with your foster dog. We know nothing aside from what the shelter tells us about these dogs; many times they are street dogs.
“We all love animals, and want them all to be safe. It’s important to separate at first, especially with larger dogs. If in doubt, separate. The dog you get Day One will not be the dog you have Week Two.
“When we post for fosters, it’s because we have no space for them. If you ask to foster, we assume it’s until adoption. Thank you!” — April A. in San Antonio