By: Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care, Round Lake, IL
Yay it is finally summer outside. Hot weather, BBQ's, swimming pools, beaches, lakes and all the good stuff that summer brings.
This also means that your dog is probably outside with you during all these times so it is important that you keep your dog safe during the summer months.
Below are some safety tips for your dog for the summer.
If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child's wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in.
Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water.
Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun's heat is less intense.
Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog's paws.
Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.
Make sure your dog's vaccinations are up to date, especially since dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months.
Keep dogs off of lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers.
Keep your dog well-brushed and clean.
Fleas and ticks, and the mosquitos which carry heartworm disease, are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive to keep these parasites off your dog.
Make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest in and plenty of fresh water.
Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog's exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
Check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish.
Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament, so keep a check on your dog's activity.
Do not let your dog drink seawater; the salt will make him sick.
Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog's coat, so rinse him off at the end of the day.
Not all beaches permit dogs; check local ordinances before heading out.
Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog's preferences and skills before trying to make him swim.
If you're swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water and coax him in by calling his name. Encourage him with toys or treats. Or, let him follow another experienced dog he is friendly with.
Never throw your dog into the water.
If your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and keep his back end up.
Don't let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and he may tire quickly.
If swimming at the ocean, be careful of strong tides.
If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown.
Never leave your dog unattended in water.
Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog's prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog is overcome.
- Heavy panting.
- Rapid breathing.
- Excessive drooling.
- Bright red gums and tongue.
- Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.
- White or blue gums.
- Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
- Uncontrollable urination or defecation.
- Labored, noisy breathing.
If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down:
- Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
- Apply ice packs to the groin area.
- Hose down with water.
- Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
- Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.
- Check your dog's temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog's temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process.
Enjoy the summer by making sure that your best friend is safe!!!