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Kennel Tips - Summer Care


24/7 Water
It's spring in Alaska and summer will soon be here. One very simple,cheap and essential element in summer care of dogs is access to water.

All dogs should have 24 hour access to water to eliminate any possibility of dehydration. Watering dogs once a day is not enough. All dogs should have a pan, can or bucket that they can't spill. The water container must be cleaned at least twice a week with a scrub brush to get rid of any residue food, leaves or fungus that might start to grow.
[submited by Amy Wright, 4/8/02]

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Beat the Heat
I've received a number of calls the last few days asking me if I have any secrets to help dogs and puppies beat the heat. So I thought I would tell what I'm doing to reduce my sled dogs' misery.

Adults: Adult dogs are getting fresh water in their tubs twice a day (our Sibs. are in kennels/ 2 per; so they are free to move in and out of the wash tub sized containers).

Puppies: We have a mother and her seven pups as guests in our air conditioned kitchen during the hours of daylight.

Weaned Puppies: Our litter of six four week old weaned puppies are in a pen in the garage with 30 inch sides. They are resting comfortable next to a 6 gallon plastic bucket with an 8 lbs. bag of ice in the bucket (the bag of ice lasts about 6 hours in the bucket).

Misc.: Flies bother dogs ears this time of year and if not kept in check, bites will be so severe as to cause loss of ear hair and frozen ears in the winter. We use Swat brand and Flys Off brand ointment; applying it about once a week. The dogs ears look a bit funny with "goop" all over them, but the flies stay off. On top of this heat, I surely wouldn't want to have flies chewing on my ears.
Submitted by Joe T. Eells, MJ Sled & Dogs, Ltd, River Falls, Wisconsin 7/30/99

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Summertime Ear Care
Use the tick and flea repellent that you run down the back of your house pet on the ears of your athletes during bug season.

The repellent comes in small tubes usually sold by weight of the dog your treating and can be purchased at your local vet or pet supply store. Two drops on the outside and one drop on the inside tip of the ears does the trick. Rub it in real good. Use rubber gloves or wash your hands after treating ears.

This treatment has lasted for 1 to 2 months depending on how much rain we get. The dogs are much more receptive to this treatment than rubbing a whole bunch of grease on their ears. Have any of you greased your ears lately and felt comfortable? We've tried quite a few of the grease or paste type bug repellents in the past and found they last only until a dog sits out in the rain one time.

Cost of treatment using this tick and flea repellant is comparative to the grease type repellent, but much less labor intensive throughout the summer.
Submitted by Pete & Sharon Curtice, Rumely, Michigan, 4/8/01

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More Ear Care
This has been a bad year for flies here in NW Ontario and I have had trouble getting my favorite solution, Bag Balm, which I find to be a simple non-toxic solution for keeping ears from the hordes. Unfortunately, it's not too available here in NW Ontario. This turned out to be lucky, since it led me to try a similar product from Wal-Mart called "Udderly sMOOth" which is a knock off sold in the beauty department as a hand lotion.

There are two different products, one pump and another in a tub. The stuff in the tub is the better product. It keeps the ears clean and bug free all day. Even the scabby ears are now clean and growing back their hair after a week of treatment. It goes on clean and dogs don't freak like they do with the less effective and more toxic fly spray. Now instead of running, they seem to enjoy getting their ears done.
Submitted by Bill Hannahs, NW Ontario, 7/31/01

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Fly Bait Bottles
Here is a "Kennel" tip for those of you who have a problem with biting black flies. We have been using a fly bait that you mix up with water. You place it into a container with holes in the top, the flies go in and drown themselves.

You can buy these complete kits at horse tack / farm supply stores. We found that if you mix and pour your solution into large plastic pop bottles, and cut holes in the top for the flies, this works better. You only need to buy the bait solution instead of the whole kit. The pop bottles can be found anywhere. Also, once the pop bottle is full of flies strain out the solution and re-use it. The older the solution gets the better it seems to work.
Submitted by Caitlyn Diamond 7/6/04

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Misting Hose
In the summer months, we take a misting hose and run it so that each dog can be misted by the water. A cheap way to do this is to buy a $5.00 hose from Walmart and poke a couple of holes in it in each dog's area. If you place the hose strategically, it can even mist the chewers but they cant get to the hose.
Submitted by Katie Johnson, Northern Wisconsin, 7/12/05

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More Bug Repellents

Safe Premise Spray
We have been told that this is used at one of the Disney venues in Florida. Make a 1 part to 19 parts water of a castile soap shampoo with mint (we use Dr. Bronner's) to spray inside and outside of the dog houses, in and around the kennels, on the grass (if you're lucky enough to have some, living with dogs). Frequency would depend on amount of rain you get, but we have been told once a week may be sufficient. Word is that the shampoo is biodegradable and therefore not harmful to the environment. And it smells great, too.

Safe Spray to Use on Dogs and People
Absorbine Supersheen Green is a horse product but we use it on us and our dogs to help keep the black flies and mosquitoes at bay. It also has a minty aroma. Comes in a big spray bottle.

Submitted by Sue Hamilton, SUMA Alaskan Malamutes-Qimmiq Inuit Sled Dogs, Harwinton, CT

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Citronella Oil for Mosquitoes
We live in Fairbanks, Alaska and all who have been here in the summer know that mosquitoes are a BIG problem. After trying chemical fly sprays and even those natural cedar sprays, we have found a simple, inexpensive solution to the problem.

We buy citronella oil and use it on the dogs. It is simple to apply and will last from a few days to a week (depending on rain). Dip a q-tip into the oil and then run the q-tip down the outside of the ears. Also, run a strip down their nose and then apply a few drops between shoulderblades and at the base of the tail. If the mosquitoes are especially bad, run a strip of oil down the inside of each leg.

We have found that the mosquitoes and flies leave the dogs alone without heavy chemical sprayings! The citronella oil only costs a few bucks and will last quite a while.
submitted by Tammi Rego, Fairbanks, Alaska, 11/10/00

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Tasty Meatball Popcicles
Sled dogs and hot summer days don't mix, but I have the mix to try. I get old ground beef from our local grocery stores for free (leave a bucket). When I bring it home, I mix eggs, dog food, and vitamins with it and make large meat balls. I freeze it on a old cookie sheet and the next day, the dogs have nice cold treats that are healthy. Takes them a while to chew too.
submitted by Laughing Husky Kennel, Michigan, 9/10/02

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Wading Pools
In the "dog days" of summer, many sled dogs with thick coats are inclined to be uncomfortable. One way to keep them comfortable is to buy a couple kiddy wading pools, fill them half way with water, and leave them next to the dog's house so they can wade and snorkel at their leisure! (This tip is tried, tested and true by the members of the sleddog-L and siberian-L mailing lists.)
Submitted by anonymous

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Wading Pool Phobia
My musher friend and I could not get our Siberians to get into the kiddy pools. We had a crazy hunch that maybe our dogs were neurotic and were frightened by the cute fish and flowers painted on the pool bottom. We spray painted the bottom with truck bedliner liquid (dark blue) to cover the decorations. It worked!
submitted by Lynn Campbell, Walker, California, 6/21/02

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