Gone to the Dogs
Just the other day, my client Steve was on the gym floor doing an ab routine. Our dog, Zack, loves being in the gym where he can get lots of attention. Most, if not all, shelties demand attention. While Steve was doing his elbows and knees, the dog went over to play with him. Steve pulled Zack over to him and kissed him on the nose. Zack proceeded to return the favor with massive, multiple licks to the face. Steve loved it. I said that maybe he really shouldn’t get too close to a dog’s mouth—you know—germs and such. Well, Steve said that a dog’s mouth is much cleaner than a human’s. Oh, really?
Well, I went to find out and guess what? It ain’t true. Seems doggie kisses can make you sick. Dog’s mouths are loaded with germs like salmonella, campylobacter, and cryptosporidium. These bug nasties get into Fido’s mouth from either eating bad or rotten food (not my dog!). And your pooch also uses his mouth as toilet paper, too. Yup, that tongue can be a nasty source of diarrhea—so be aware that his mouth is really not cleaner than a human’s. Dog kisses can really make you sick—it’s a fact!
Once again, as in previous years, I’m pleading with pet owners to please be aware of the weather conditions for your doggies. I still see people at the beach with their pets in tow and the hot sun roasting the poor critters. I have observed pet owners with one, two, or even three dogs on the hot sand in the blazing sun with no protection other than sitting under the shade of their sand chairs. Dogs cool off by panting—they don’t have sweat glands like us. It doesn’t matter if you own a water dog—a golden retriever or a chocolate lab. Yes, these dogs do love the water but severe weather conditions could cause the poor animal to have heat stroke or a heart attack. I’m amazed that some pet owners don’t provide water for their pets. They require shade and need to be out of direct sunlight. And just think, if the sand is burning your feet walking from your car to the beach, then how do you think your pet feels with four paws on burning hot sand. Oh, yeah, thirsty dogs should not drink ocean water—would you? And how would you feel if you had to wear a fur coat to the beach that you couldn’t take off?
So, as a precautionary measure please look up the weather conditions at the beach before embarking on your journey. You really shouldn’t take your pet with you if the temperature is 83 degrees or above. The humidity readings are important too. High humidity is very uncomfortable for long haired dogs, not that short hairs aren’t affected. A short haired terrier may do better at the beach then say a long haired Shetland sheepdog (Zack) but brutal conditions are just that—brutal. Please consider your pet’s health and well being. Remember that at our beaches, you pet must be leashed at all time. Loose dogs will get you a fine.
And lastly for pet owners— are you smarter than your dog? It’s said that the smartest dogs can learn up to 250 words. That is the equivalent of a 2-year-old child. The smartest breeds? Border Collies, Poodles, Shelties, German Shepherds, and Retrievers. The not so gifted? Bull dogs, Chow Chows, Basenjis, and Afghan Hounds. The average dog learns (understands) 150 words.
Rick Moore is a personal trainer certified by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates.