Summer is here and as we slowly emerge from indoor hibernation, we can look forward to longer days, warmer temperatures and increased outdoor activities and vacations with friends and family, including our 4-legged companions.
The family dog benefited most by increased daily walks and more at-home human companionship in the past few months, which we hope will continue with regularity. As temperatures rise, it’s important to balance daily exercise needs and travelling with your pets with prudence and caution during the summer months.
Public walkways and the gravel or rock in your own backyard, can heat up quickly so please take a “paws” during hotter times of the day. Daily walks should occur during the early morning hours or after sunset. Always feel the ground before walking with your dog. If it’s too hot for your bare feet or hand to touch, it’s definitely too hot for your dog!
In the event of a foot pad injury, rinse the pads under cool water, cleanse thoroughly and follow with a topical antibiotic, such as Vetericyn; a must-have first aid item for all dog and cat owners to clean cuts, wounds, and provide itch and irritation relief.
DOGS AND INSECT BITES
Flying insects are more active this time of year (bees, wasps and mosquitoes) along with those nasty fleas and ticks. Most insect bites are harmless; however, your dog could suffer an allergic reaction (evidenced by redness, swelling or hives). Keep an eye on your dog and swarming pests when outdoors. Trim your backyard plants that attract bees and wasps and when on a walk, be extra watchful of their noses around blooming and pollinating plants. Make sure you provide a good flea and tick treatment (always), yet now is a good time to implement if your dog or cat is overdue.
SUMMER GROOMING & SUNSCREEN FOR DOGS
Summer cuts are popular this time of year, although it is best to keep dog’s coats long, as their hair helps regulate body temperature. If you groom at home, remember to leave at least 1” of fur.
It is also recommended that you apply dog-friendly SUNSCREEN to exposed areas, such as the belly, ears and tip of the nose (cover the entire body of hairless and thin-coated breeds).
WATCH FOR SIGNS OF DOG HEATSTROKE
Your dog’s body temperature should be between 99-102 degrees.
Dogs don’t have normal sweat glands (only in the pads of their feet) so they PANT to reduce their body temperature. Panting will NOT help if they are kept in an unventilated area in high temperatures. The best way to measure your dog’s body temperature is via a rectal thermometer.
If his body temperature is approaching 104 degrees, put him in a luke-warm to cool bath (not freezing cold!) and call your Vet immediately. When the temperature drops to 103 degrees, take him out of the cool bath so his temperature won’t drop too quickly.
Short-snouted breeds, such as Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs, puppies, overweight and/or senior dogs struggle more when temperatures rise with an increased possibility of heatstroke.
Heatstroke signs include:
Increased heart rate; excessive panting, increased salivation, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick, sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea.
KEEP THE A/C ON FOR ALL PETS IN YOUR HOME
If it feels warm to you, it is definitely warm for your dog. Don’t skimp too much on the AC and employ ceiling and floor fans to keep cool air flowing. Set up a fan in front of a bowl of ice for Fido “cool down” (under close supervision of course).
DOGS NEED LOTS OF WATER!
Dogs needs more water in the summer. Bacteria can grow quickly in warm, stagnant water so keep the bowl fresh & full. Add ice cubes to the water bowl. A great “cool down” treat are “Pupsicles” made with chicken broth frozen in ice cube trays.
Know, too, that dogs eat less food in the summer months. Do not panic if you notice a slight decrease in food intake.
POOL SAFETY & FUN WITH DOGS
If you haven’t already, teach your dog to swim. Some breeds are natural swimmers yet most aren’t. If your dog isn’t a swimmer, or you don’t have a pool, consider a cheap and easy, no-lessons-required doggie pool.
This is a great way to keep your dog cool and entertained this summer, with the added bonus of having a handy “bath tub” for a quick and easy grooming moment. Swimming is a great way to exercise senior dogs with compromised mobility and keep them cool at the same time.
If you’re hitting the lake or beach with your dog, there’s no better way to cool off on hot summer days than a dip in the river or ocean together. Be especially careful of the currents and waves as moving water is dangerous for both dogs and young children.
Remove your dog’s collars to ensure they don’t get snagged on underwater debris such as hidden branches and plants. Check the temperature of the water as cold water can quickly cause fatigue, cramps, hypothermia and loss of energy.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR
Best practice: leave your dog(s) at home and only drive to his grooming or Vet appointments and never leave them in the car if only for a brief moment.
31 states and the District of Columbia have “hot car” laws. That is, it is both illegal and inhumane to leave a dog (or child) unattended in a hot car.
While individual states vary regarding Good Citizen law protection, at a minimum if you witness a locked car with children or pets inside, notify local authorities immediately. If you can, remain with the child or pet until authorities arrive.
Stay cool this summer! If you plan to travel without your dog, call us for cage-free boarding and cool comfort in our loving pet care.
photo attribution: black dog in plants by Georgia de Lotz @ unsplash.com