Dog Days of Summer – Safety Tips for Your Pooch
Summer … long days and warm nights filled with family, friends and extra outdoor fun with your dog. It’s a great season for creating lasting memories. However, summer activities and hot temps come with a few unavoidable hazards. Here are some tips to ensure a safe summer for you and your pet!
Safety through Prevention
Going on new adventures with our pups is what summer is all about! Here are a few hidden dangers to be aware of along with tips to keep your trusty sidekick healthy and happy:
- Vaccines: Make sure your pet is up to date on ALL of their core vaccinations. Parvo Virus, Distemper, and other serious illnesses can be spread in common areas that pets frequently visit in the warmer months. Dog parks, restaurant patios, pet stores, and other public places can be infected with contagious illness. Make sure Fido has all the protection he needs.
- Heartworm Prevention: Warm weather brings out that most frustrating of pests… mosquitoes! They bite, they make us itch and they can truly ruin a good time; they can also contribute to much bigger problems. Mosquitos are a vector for the heartworm virus. Left untreated, this disease leads to serious illness, and in the worst case scenario, even death. Keep your pet up to date on heartworm prevention to give them the protection they need to stay strong and healthy.
- Flea Prevention: More time outside means more exposure to fleas. Fleas are not only uncomfortable, but they can cause health complications if they are not eliminated. Don’t let the flea circus come to town on your pooch, practice prevention now and throughout the year.
Danger: It’s HOT!
Our pets don’t realize how dangerous too much time in the heat can be, so it’s up to us to keep them cool and to know when to bring them inside. If it’s a hot day, it’s a good idea to limit outdoor play time, or try early morning and evening exercise. Short bursts of activity and play with access to water are always recommended when the mercury is on the rise. If your pet is panting, tiring out or drinking excessively, bring them inside or find some shade. If they like to swim, a quick dip can help bring down their body temp quickly. Some pets have gone into heat stroke after just 15 minutes of vigorous play, so watch your pet closely. If you suspect heat stroke, wrap your dog in cold wet towels, especially the underarm/belly/groin area. A fan may be used on the dog during the cooling process, and contact your vet, just to be on the safe side. When going out for your daily walk, be sure to test the asphalt first. Touch the palm of your hand to the cement for 7-8 seconds. If it is too hot for you to bear, it is too hot for your dog’s paws as well.
Danger: An All-Access Pass to Food
During the summer months in particular, there are no shortages of barbeques, picnics and other outdoor festivities laden with open tables of food. While it’s fun to bring our pets along, don’t be tempted to slip them a table treat and make sure they aren’t getting it from other people (or sneaking it off tables themselves!). Fattening food, sugary sweets, or really anything they are not used to eating, can cause gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis and other serious conditions. To keep your dog satisfied while everyone around them is chowing down, bring along a fun snack made just for them! Pupsicles are the perfect way to keep your dog happy and cool!
Sure, the dog days of summer have a few potential pitfalls, but you and your pet can have a blast if you follow these basic rules for safety. Be safe, and have fun!