Water: In a hot dry climate cool plentiful water is a MUST. In the hottest times you may need to refresh the dog water several times a day. Newly refreshed water is often a plaything that can be spread over a large area. As the mouth area of a Saint is one of the largest areas for cooling their whole body, they will swish water around their mouths to cool down even if they are not actually drinking a lot.
Shade: Areas where a Saint spends most of his time MUST have areas of shade. The sun will cause a Saint to overheat quickly when the surrounding temperature is over 80 degrees even with low humidity.
Grooming: There are no special grooming requirements; however, in a hot dry climate Saints don’t keep much of an undercoat so a quick brushing every 2 or 3 days will prevent matting and related hotspots. Some people shave their longhair Saints in hot weather. We never did that and didn’t feel that it was needed. If we had an individual Saint who had coat aggravated problems we would not hesitate to shave him. If you do shave a Saint beware of sunburn.
Shelter: We had an air conditioned kennel that dogs disappeared into during the heat and emerged from at cooler times. Outdoor dogs will need some sort of cooling in their insulated shelter. There is no special size requirement for shelters in hot dry climate. Dogs will prefer cool hard floors. Indoor dogs love tile floors and with the creative use of kiddy gates, parts of the house can become dog domain during the day when they will sleep most of the time anyway. Beware of floors that are too smooth as they can be a problem for young and old Saints.
Exercise: In hot dry weather you will find that your Saints may become more active at night when it is cooler. Many a time we have been awakened at 4am by running, chasing and playing dogs. If it is too hot out for you, your dog won’t be comfortable either. Any strenuous activity with your Saint should be confined to cool hours and be fairly close to home. You don’t want to be able to tell the story about the day you had to carry your Saint home because he was overheated.
Equipment: Large water buckets, tarps for shade, misting systems and standing coolers for outdoor cooling, and old towels for slobber.
Food & Feeding: There are no special requirements for the type of food to feed your Saint. Listen to the recommendation of your Saint’s breeder on food requirements. It is always wise to feed your Saints in the cooler hours.
Medical Issues: The main issues associated with our climate are heat stroke and heat related problems, and Valley Fever, a mold spore caused medical problem. You should become familiar with signs and treatment of these conditions.
Watch out for: “Hot dry climate” tells you what to watch out for – watch out for heat and a lack of water. Heat: Exposed water lines such as pipes and hoses can produce really hot water. Lickits water sources can burn a dog’s mouth. Surfaces can be hot to the touch including asphalt, sand, and even wood and gravel. Dry: Dry country has a lot of vegetation that has sharp stickers. Watch for foxtails and other grass seeds that can puncture and infect feet. Putting your nose into a cactus can be very uncomfortable. Fleas and ticks can be found in our climate so preventatives are recommended.
Jack and Carol Terrio, Arizona