Both pets and people love the lazy days of summer. Long sunny days serve to brighten anyone’s disposition whether human or canine! However, summer poses some very real health threats to your family’s best friend. Most are the same risks humans face, but others are typically issues that only affect your dog. Let’s talk about a few ways to keep your pooch safe during the the hottest days of the year.
- Keep fresh water available at all times: This really seems like a no-brainer but dehydrated dogs are seen in vet clinics all the time. Your dog’s water need will increase greatly in the summer, frequent checking and filling of fido’s dish is a must!
- Provide shade: Just like humans, dogs need a place to keep cool. A dog can suffer heat stroke, and a dog that has been shaved for the summer can get sunburned. Indoors is the ideal place for your dog but, if that is not possible, be sure there is plenty of shade where Rover can rest.
- Protect against heartworm: If you live in an area where mosquitoes aren’t a problem during the winter months, you may choose not to treat your dog for heartworm year round. When the days start to warm up, it’s time to start the medication again. Heartworm medications protect your dog from a broad array of intestinal parasites as well, including those that can be passed on to humans. (Ick!) Also, getting rid of any standing or stagnant water will cut down on the mosquitoes keeping everybody more comfortable.
- Watch out for fleas and ticks: Not only are these critters annoying, they can be outright unhealthy. Fleas can become a very unwelcome guest in your home and ticks can carry lyme disease. Always check your dog for ticks after walking in wooded areas. Your vet can provide treatments that not only prevents fleas and ticks, but will kill existing infestations and their eggs.
- NEVER leave your dog in the car: Even in the shade, a car can heat up to deadly temperatures very quickly. It only takes a few minutes in a hot car to kill a dog. Do your dog a favor and leave him home while running errands.
- Exercise cautiously: Just like humans, an animal can easily overheat when exercising in warm weather. This is a good time to cut back on the amount of exercise or consider exercising during early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
- Protect the paws: : Summer asphalt and cement can get extremely hot and burn your dog’s paw pads. Keep them moving, never let them linger on a hot road or sidewalk.
- Chemical caution: Many lawn care chemicals can harm your dog. Always follow package directions and keep pets away from fertilized areas for as long as recommended. Another chemical to steer clear of is snail bait. Dogs love the taste and will readily consume what was meant to kill a slimy pest. Opt for a petsafe brand of snail and slug bait. It will be more expensive, but could save your dog from a potential poisoning.
In conclusion, following good common sense goes a long way to keeping your pet healthy during the summer months. Keeping them cool and hydrated are perhaps the most important things you can do for your dogs. If you follow these tips, you can greatly cut back on unfortunate mishaps, and go about the business of enjoying the freedom that the summer brings! Now go take an afternoon nap, and later, get that frisbee and head for the off leash park!