In the winter, humane societies are always issuing alerts to ensure that pets are protected from the cold. For Newfs, the alerts should be issued in the hot months, particularly from mid-June to mid-August. At this time of year we have high temperatures coupled with a high sun. The high sun makes shade from natural sources such as trees and buildings scarcer and may require you to give additional shade protection for your Newf.
If all the human members of the family are away during the day, they may not realize what the sun is doing from noon to 3:00 p.m. So on the first sunny Saturday or Sunday, observe how much shade your Newf gets in his pen throughout the day time hours. If he does not have adequate shade at any point, then you must make shade for him. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to relocate the pen to a shadier location; another is to put up shade panels. Of course you can always leave your Newf in your air conditioned house with the air conditioner on full.
Shading the pen is usually the easiest solution. This can be done with tarps. Make sure you test them throughout a sunny day; sometimes overhead shade is not as good as a shade panel from the side. Experiment until you find out what is best for your dog. The trouble with tarps is that they often suffer wind damage. There are two alternatives: special shade tarps that have fine holes in them to allow the breezes to pass through (these are often sold at dog shows) and camouflage netting available from army surplus stores. Warning: you will normally have to double up the camouflage netting to get adequate shade.
Along with shade, your Newfoundland will require plentiful water. Horse buckets are what most people use for their runs. The water should be changed at least two or three times a day in hot weather. If your Newf wades in the bucket with both front feet and keeps dumping his water, then the bucket should be clipped to the fence to prevent such a loss of water. You should also consider putting a wading pool or wash tub in the pen so your hot dog can soak his head as well as all four legs. With wading pools, watch for non slip bottoms. These are to be avoided as they may break off the feathering on the legs and sometimes on the lower rump. Like most of the things that I have learned, this I learned the hard way. One of my Newfs, Baby Bear, enjoyed her pool so much that she spent a whole summer lying in it. Come the Fall I was horrified to see her bald behind and rear legs. I now use metal wash tubs.
Another tip for keeping your Newfs cool in summer is to cool them from the inside. Some people buy them ice cream cones but this should be done sparingly as dairy products may result in a certain looseness that is messy to clean up and dehydrating for your dog. Better still are plain ice cubes. These can be given directly as a treat or put in the drinking water.
Playing games, dog carting and any other physical activities, except swimming, should be left to the cool evening hours when possible. If you must work your Newf in the heat, then keep him cool by spraying him with a hose or spray bottle and make sure you rest him often and give him frequent sips of water to avoid heat prostration.
Take special care with very old Newfs. Their ability to regulate their temperature is diminished. My old Newfs usually die in summer, almost never in winter.
Hope you and your Newfs have a happy and cool summer!
Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979. In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada. When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.
Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.Dogs in Canada