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The Dog Days of Summer
By Sarah Spearman, Education Sales Coordinator on Jul 18, 2008
Here is another guest blog post from our friend and colleague, Elizabeth Bublitz, at Paw-Friendly Landscapes. If you are enjoying her posts, don't forget to check out her Pet-Friendly Landscapes class this coming September, where you can get all your questions answered in a fun, practical evening program.
Boy is it July! It is so hot these days with very little rain. It’s hard to believe my last blog was about too much moisture, now it’s taken a 180 degree turn (literally!) and I want to address dogs and gardens in heat stress. As a Colorado native, I should be use to these extremes, but I’m always in disbelief.
Dogs do not sweat so we must help them stay cool. Of course pet owners know to always provide lots of cold, fresh water available, shelter in a cool place such as on a north or east side of the house or install a shade cloth over a dog run. Rock mulch heats up quickly so don’t leave dogs in dog runs that have rock as its basis. In many yards, I see them digging or nesting under trees, next to fences or large shrubs. This is okay if they’re not harming the shrub or tree’s roots. In fact, if it’s just a cosmetic concern, I usually tell people to let their dogs continue nesting so they don’t start digging in the sod (there is no easy fix to deter dogs from digging in sod) or next to the house which can create drainage issues.
Pet owners can also provide a child’s wading pool to keep dogs cool. This is cost effective and temporary so it can be stored away in the winter. Many homeowners actually have a pond made for their dogs or install a large store bought adult pool and create a ramp or put it next to a deck for dogs to use as access.
This time of year homeowners will also want to bump up the time on their sprinklers, especially if they’ve had new sod or plantings installed. We see lots of heat stress on plants and sod. Typical signs of heat stress include: sod quickly turns yellow, leaves on trees or shrubs droop or tips of leaves curl or get brown tips. Increasing the time on the irrigation and misting them in the morning or late afternoon (when there’s less evaporation) will alleviate this problem. In August, homeowners can reduce their watering cycles because night time temperatures will be cooler and less water is needed.
Good luck with this heat – if you have dogs, please keep them safe and happy!