Long Hot Summer - Protection from the sun

13 May 2013

Here in Queensland, in the great “Down Under”, we have just experienced the hottest summer they say since the 1920’s. This weekend we have had 40C one day and 42C the next, which was unbelievably hot for us and the dogs. We can all tapdance around the problems with aircon and sprinklers on the dogs etc but once the worst is over and the cooler days arrive, we are left with dry coats which are often sunburnt.

Some of us have indoor dogs and the rest, outdoorsy types. For the indoor dogs that are lounge lizards, this is not a problem but for the sun bunnies, the split, frazzled coats can wipe them right out of the show ring till next season’s coat. It is often enough in extreme weather to keep from looking frazzled let alone worry about the dogs coats. Comfort for us and the dogs is first and foremost.

Nontheless, necessity is usually the mother of invention and we have started using the new Plush Puppy Sunshade. This wonderful spray on coat protector is enough to repel most of the sun’s potential for damage and keep the coat from frying. We were lucky enough to have several bottles from our trial runs leftover to be able to use them through this trying time.

We keep the bottle above the door of the kennels and each morning, if needed, we spray each dog along the topline. Just a light wipe over with your hand to spread it evenly and the dog will be protected. I recommend spraying at least 2 - 3 times per week and every day if the dog is swimming in dams etc.

Plush Puppy Sunshade is also good for dogs that get sunburned skin. Just apply and wipe thoroughly around the areas that require protection.

This is a nice light product and is not a heavy greasy affair. It is an intensive sun screen and moisturiser with a good protective factor. To remove just shampoo as usual. - it is soluble in water.

Now we have the dog’s all sunscreened we still need to keep up the moisturiser to the coat, especially coats that are long and drape. Revivacoat is a light foaming aerosol moisturiser that is great for keeping up the elasticity and moisture content to the coat. Use the Revivacoat each day applying roughly a golfball sized amount to your hands and work through the coat from mid lengths to ends. This is a leave in moisturiser and can be applied lavishly if required as it will not leave the coat greasy. Apply the Protectacoat on the topline and head and any area that gets sunbleached or is in danger of sun damage. Also leave in and do not rinse out.

This is a good quick routine for those who have more than one or two dogs or where time is in short supply. Join the club! We are always racing the clock to get everything done but never want to skimp on results.

When bath time arrives, then use the Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose for maximum moisturising and conditioning. For coats that you don’t want to soften, use the All Purpose with Henna Shampoo which will give maximum shine. Either finish with Silk Protein Conditioner for even more moisture and condition or for coats that you don’t want to flatten, use the Seabreeze Oil at a ratio of 1 tbspn to 1 gallon/4litres warm water sponged or hydro bathed through and left in. Use all the shampoos and conditioners at around 3:1 for maximum effect. For lighter results use at 5:1 and for regular maintenance use at the ratio of up to 10:1. (i.e. 10 parts water to one part product).

Don’t know what happens in your part of the woods but we get these darned nasty stinging flies in summer that chomp on the dogs’ ears and make them bleed if not attended to quickly. One day the ears are just fine and then the critters descend and have a feast seemingly overnight. We have tried all the lotions and potions and have found spraying is easier than a cream. I manage to get cream from one end of me and the dogs to the other. The puppy managed to abscond with the tube and squish the lot everywhere. So much for the cream which the flies seemed to enjoy anyway and the ears still got munched.

I have a great little recipe which you are all welcome to have, which we mix up in a jug and spray on with a water spray bottle. Mix equal parts of Dettol (hope this is available in your part of the world - it is a strong smelling disinfectant/antiseptic liquid available at the supermarket), Baby Oil and Methylated Spirits. Cheap as chips to make, works like a charm and safe as houses on the dogs too.

Then there are the ticks. Well we have them all here in Queensland, don’t we? You name the critter and we probably have it. Fortunately in our area they are just bush ticks but are pretty much in plague proportions this year due to the extreme heat and rain. I always figured they were transported by the possums and bats that lived in our mango trees. Well the mango trees provide great shade so we always put up with them preferring to spray the ground when they got too bad and ignore them other times till bath time.

I have discovered that they will feast on anything and when I found a half eaten mango left by the dogs who are by now well and truly had their fill of them, it was swarming with ticks. I mean crawling!!! Hundreds of the darned things literally marching back to the tree chockers with mango. I couldn’t stomp them all out. This tree and I will part company after all this time. I have fought for years to keep this tree despite my husband’s protestations of the mess the leaves and the fallen fruit make. Yuk, those ticks really put the kybosh on it. Up with the sails and down with the tree and this is from a serious environmental person.

Thank God the summer is almost over.