Summer in the cities of Vietnam is uniquely challenging for dog owners since the humidity and lack of shade makes prolonged exposure to the outdoors uncomfortable, with few designated dog areas for being able to cool down once outside. So, how can owners continue to give their canine companions vital mental and physical stimulation during the hottest days of summer?
Dogs are genetically programmed to hunt for their food, but when many pet dogs are simply fed from a dish, they’re not benefiting from the challenge of this most basic instinct. Since boredom is a huge precursor for behaviour problems, why not give your canine companion a fun problem to solve; how to get their grub?
One inexpensive option is to freeze stuffable chew-toys and make them into toy-sicles for your pup to enjoy, both when you’re home, or when you have to leave them alone in the house. By cooling your pups daily ration of kibble, along with some tasty treats, then stuffing it into a tough chew toy such as a Kong or other similar food dispensing toy, you’re providing your dog a challenging way to get their meal that can take hours to devour, and also help keep them cool.
You can increase the difficulty and value of these chew toys gradually by using peanut butter, cream cheese or even baby food as a matrix of sorts, mixing it all together with your dogs kibble, stuffing it into several food-dispensing toys, then freezing the toys over night with the packed goodies inside. The next morning, the toys will be rock-solid and ready for your dog to eagerly annihilate. You can even disperse the toys throughout the house to make a fun scavenger hunt that’ll take up an entire afternoon.
Dog-friendly businesses do exist in both Hanoi and Saigon, and bringing your pup to a café with shaded outdoor seating can be a good way to beat the heat. Plus, it’s important to support these dog-friendly places whenever possible. Even though they’re not engaged in play, settling in a public place is a great way to socialize your dog to noises, sounds and smells while on-leash, and it also provides opportunities for you to work on your dog’s basic behaviours, such as a solid down-stay in a distracting environment. Simply watching the world go by while chilling out can provide enough mental stimulation to tire your pup out.
These aren’t meant to replace the exercise and daily stimulation that outdoor exercise provides, but during the hottest days, they can offer a much-needed reprieve while still keeping your canine companion enriched and happy.
Are there any secret watering holes or dog-friendly business you love to frequent in Vietnam? Share your favourite resources and tips to help others keep their canines cool the next few months!