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Summer Care

Maltipoo Summer Care

Overview

Summer is a great season to have a dog, and this is why so many owners decide to bring home a new puppy in the summer. And, for current owners, it's a great time to get outside more with your Maltipoo and really enjoy all that the season has to offer.

But, taking care of a Maltipoo during the summer does have it's challenges. And there's some changes that you'll want to make. 

This section will cover some important summertime tips for proper care of both puppies and adults. 

Summer Care Tip #1 - Keep an Eye on Water Intake

Brown Maltipoo dog
Echo, at 4 months,
 photo courtesy of Ariana
Why this is:

In general, canines need to drink 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per each 10 pounds of body weight. 

During the summer, many dogs will need to meet the top end of their maximum water requirements. 

This is because just like humans, dogs lose more water when it's hot out. While they do not perspire like us, they sweat from their paws and lose water as they breath. 

In addition, most Maltipoos will be moving around much more than they did during the colder months, which lends to more water lost. And finally, with the heat comes increased changes of heat stress, and lack of proper water intake contributes to this (more ahead on heat exhaustion and stroke). 

What to do:

There's several things you can do to ensure that your Maltipoo drinks enough in the summer. 

1. Bring water with you. Bring along water for walks, and take a break at the halfway point to allow your Maltipoo to re-hydrate. 
You'll also want to bring water along anytime you head out in the car or elsewhere. If you'll be spending time outside in the summer heat with your Maltipoo, offer a drink of water every 20 to 30 minutes.

Since you'll need both a bowl and a water container for this, a great method is to use a 2-in-1 canine water travel container like the H2O4K9 Dog Water Bottle and Travel Bowl. This is made of stainless steel which helps keep the water cool and the lid serves as a bowl.
2. Offer water-packed snacks. Some fruits when given in moderation are super-healthy for dogs to eat and have a high water content; this includes blueberries (85%), raspberries (87%) and watermelon (92%). Even though fruit has fructose, the high fiber content makes the body process the natural sugars slowly.

While these can be given fresh, you'll find that giving frozen fruit to your Maltipoo offers a nice, cooling snack in the summer. 
3. You can also offer ice cubes, which can make ingesting a bit of extra water fun as it's chased around on the floor. 

Summer Care Tip #2 - Keep your Maltipoo Cool

Dogs can get quite uncomfortable in the summer heat and sun glare can also be a problem. And aside from keeping your Maltipoo happy, you'll also want to take care to not allow your puppy or dog to overheat; it is a lot easier to prevent than it is to treat it.  

Fortunately, the following tips all work together to help a Maltipoo stay cool and comfortable all season long: 
1. Walks before 10 AM and after 5 PM. If possible, try to avoid heading outside for daily exercise during the hottest parts of the day. 

2. Check windows. If your Maltipoo is normally home alone during the day, on a day that you are home, check how the sunlight pours in from any windows close to your Maltipoo's area

The angle of the sun changes throughout the year, and you won't want excessive sunlight to be in his eyes or heating him up. 

3. If taking your puppy or dog for an all-day outing in the summer or other event in which they'll be lots of walking, consider carrying your Maltipoo in a carry sling or bag, or even using a canine stroller.
Maltipoo in the Summer
Jojo, photo courtesy of Brad Hanson 
The carry bag will help prevent exhaustion from walking in the heat, and a canine stroller is great for that as well as keeping a dog in the shade (see recommended sling bag & stroller below). 
4. Before heading out anywhere in the car, turn it on, blast the AC and allow the car to cool off. When it seems cool enough, still check the car seat to ensure that spots on it are not hot. And, while driving, use both the AC and a window a bit open (for air flow to help combat motion sickness). 
Maltipoo in pet stroller
Baby, at 2 and 1/2 years old,
photo courtesy of Virginia Key
5. Use a canine cooling mat. These are one of the best items to have for the summer. Most dogs simply love having a cool place to rest when the sun is bright and the temps are rising and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Importantly, this can literally be a lifesaver if there was an electric outage.

With these, there are no cords or plugs; they are self-activating. If you place your hand on a cooling mat, you won't feel a thing; these work by drawing excess heat away from a dog's body (see below).
6. Do not shave the coat just as an effort to help your Maltipoo be cooler. Length of coat has little effect on whether or not a Maltipoo will be hot since it is hair and not a thick coat of fur, and trimming the coat too short in the summer can lead to sunburn on the skin (see Tip #3 below). 
The recommended summer care items that we've just covered are below. This includes a travel/bowl combo, a handy carry sling, a sporty canine stroller, and the all-important cooling mat. 

If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. Next, we'll cover how to protect your Maltipoo from the sun and what can happen if you do not.  

Summer Care Tip #3 - Protect the Nose, Paws, and Body

The summer sun, even if a Maltipoo is only outside for short bursts, can really do a number on a puppy or dog. 

The nose: Canine noses are super sensitive to outdoor elements. You know this if your Maltipoo's nose gets raw, dry, and/or cracked in the wintertime
Tan Maltipoo outside on rocks
Max, photo courtesy of Jim
Note that some sun is good for a dog's nose; in fact, it helps it retain its black pigmentation. However, too much sun will cause the nose to become overly dry. And peeling and cracking won't be far behind.

What to do: Allow some natural sunlight to hit your Maltipoo's nose in the summer. But, if you 1) will be outside with your dog over 2 hours on a sunny day or 2) the nose appears dry, be sure to apply a quality nose balm. A good nose balm will both protect and heal issues including dryness and cracking (see below for recommendations). 

The paws: While all of these summer tips are important, perhaps none more so than summer paw protection.  A dog's pain threshold to the paws is 120 F. Damage occurs at 125 F, and burns will occur within seconds of coming into contact of 140 F. 
Keeping this in mind, you may be surprised to know how hot sidewalks and roads can get. 

On a sunny day in the summer that is just 77 F, both sidewalks and roadways can reach 125 F. And on a day that is 87 F, those surface temps can reach 140 F. 
A helpful study was done regarding dogs and walking surfaces in Florida over the month of June gives great examples of what your Maltipoo may be encountering. Here are some of the key points:
  • On average, cement heated up to 125 F by 2 PM. 
  • Red brick heated up to 125 F by noon and shot to a shocking 140 F at both 2 and 3 PM.
  • And blacktop pavement reached 121 F by 11 PM, was 130 F by noon, and hit a scalding 140 F by 2 PM, only gradually going back down to 112 by 5 PM. 
What to do: Protect your Maltipoo's paws in the summer. The best way to do this is to regularly apply a quality paw wax. You'll want to use one that absorbs quickly and is effective in adding a layer of protection, while still allowing the paws to breath (more ahead on this). 
Another benefit of paw wax is that it also protects the paw pads from tiny sand pebbles that can get wedged in between the pads, another issue that is not uncommon in the summer. 
The body: Some dog breeds are better protected from the sun than others; the Maltipoo is not one of them. With a coat of hair (not fur), of silky texture, and often of a light color (due to Poodle fading genes and the white coat of the Maltese), Maltipoos can get:
  • Skin discoloration. If you see gray or black spots on a Maltipoo's otherwise pink skin, a common reason is too much sun exposure.
  • Sunburn. Sunburn can be terribly uncomfortable for dogs and increases chances of skin cancer. In fact, overall, 47% of dogs die from some type of cancer and skin cancer is among the top types seen with dogs. 
The tricky thing about sunburn on dogs is that you may not notice this since it occurs under the coat. But, it leads to pain and itching nonetheless. 
Maltipoo at window in sun
Abby, at 1 and 1/2 years old,
photo courtesy of Pat Lever
Note that SkinCancer.org lets owners know that protecting dogs from the too much sun is vital to help prevent cancer. And since overexposure can lead to itching and discomfort, let's see what you can do: 

What to do: Protect your Maltipoo. There are 2 effective ways:

1) A leave-in coat spray with a sunscreen. Since using a leave-in is a recommended coat product already (it has many benefits including keeping the coat healthy and preventing tangles), why not use one with sunscreen during the summer? 

And/or,

2) Using a canine sunblock. This can be applied to the entire Maltipoo or just the belly (which often gets hit by sun rays bouncing off ground surfaces). There is just one that is FDA compliant and it is. This has an SPF of 30 to 40, and smells nice too. 
The recommended summer care items that we've just covered are below. This includes nose protection, paw protection, and skin & coat protection. 

If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. Next, we'll cover some tips regarding summertime insects. 

Summer Care Tip #4 - Keep Summer Insects Away

While fleas can be an issue all year-round, they are much more prevalent during warm months. And in the summer, you'll want to be particularly aware of both ticks and mosquitoes. 

Fleas: Without protection, dogs can easily catch fleas, these jump from dog to dog (up to 6 feet). Just one bite can cause terrible itching since many dogs are allergic to a flea's saliva. Once a dog is infested with fleas, the house (and the car) will be as well. 
Maltipoo in flowers
Marley, at 5 months old,
photo courtesy of Jules
Ticks: This is a huge problem across the US and elsewhere. And ticks are in full force in the summer. Even if you don't walk your Maltipoo through tall grass, there can be ticks just about anywhere. Ticks can cause dogs to contract a range of diseases including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Mosquitoes: These are the sole method of heartworm transmission. And even if your Maltipoo is receiving heartworm prevention, swarms of mosquitoes can ruin evening walks or outside fun time. 
What to do: The last thing that you'll want to do is put any more chemicals on your Maltipoo or strong preventative drugs in your Maltipoo than you need to, since these can have bad side effects.

For this reason:

1- Check the heartworm prevention that you are already giving to your Maltipoo; there is a good chance that it already protects from fleas. 

2 - Use an all-natural products for fleas, tick, and mosquito protection.
Unless you are living somewhere with a very high tick population, a no-chemical product should work just fine. We recommend Curealia's Pure Natural Insect Repellent for Dogs, which works to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. This works using a blend of organic ingredients: olive oil, bees wax, shea butter, lavender, cedarwood, rosewood, and patchouli (a type of mint leaf).

This is a balm; you just take a pea-sized amount and rub it between your palms to make it melt. Then you apply this to your Maltipoo's neck and upper back. It smells nice and should be reapplied every 2 weeks or so. 

Summer Care Tip #5 - Know the Signs of Heat Stress, How to Prevent it, and How to Treat it

There are two levels of heat exhaustion with dogs: Heat stress (the body is getting too hot) and heat stroke (it has progressed to a dangerous level).  

How this happens: This can occur if dogs are outside for too long during hot weather or inside without AC in the summer. In some cases, this can happen at other times of the year, and is usually due to excessive exercise. 

Signs: In the beginning stages, a dog will have trouble controlling his body temperature. Symptoms include heavy panting, weakness, confusion, red gums, drooling, and/or vomiting.
If it is not or cannot be stopped, it can develop into heat stroke in which body organs start to fail. Signs include rapid heartbeat, seizures, coma, and eventual death.

Treatment: At the first signs of heat stress, immediately give your Maltipoo cool water (if away from home, this is a good reason to bring along water as discussed in Tip # 1) and work to cool down your puppy or dog (the cooling mat as discussed in Tip #2 will help with this, and if you are away from home and do not have access to an air-conditioned building, bring your dog into the shade). 

Do not use ice, this can shock a dog. Instead, place damp cool towels gently over his body and use fans to circulate air flow. 

For signs pointing to beginning stages, many vets recommend bringing down a dog's temperature before transporting him to the vet. If signs are severe or you do not have access to water and other treatment necessities, this may warrant immediate transportation. 

So, you'll want to have a canine thermometer and call your vet for instructions. 

Note that a dog's normal temperature is  between 101 to 102.5 degrees F. 
Female Maltipoo
Lilly, at 1 year old,
photo courtesy of Dottie Smith
With heat stress, it will rise to 103 F. At 106 F, this points to heat stroke and is considered life threatening. 
Prevention: Many of the tips that we have already discussed with help prevent heat stroke from happening to your Maltipoo. This includes:
  • Making sure your dog drinks a bit extra in the summer
  • Bringing water with you when you head out for walks or go somewhere away from home
  • Taking walks early in the morning and then again later in the evening
  • Using a carrier or stroller if there's lots of walking to be done on a hot summer day
  • And having a canine cooling mat for your Maltipoo to rest on
And of course, never leave your Maltipoo in the car alone, even if it's for a moment. 

A Final Word

Summer is a great season for pet ownership and being outside more often is beneficial for both your Maltipoo's physical and emotional health. But, our dogs depend on us to offer a safe environment and provide proper care. So, do be sure to properly prep for the summer. 

Enjoy the season... time moves quickly and winter will be around again before you know it!
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