Keeping Fido & Fluffy Safe During the “Dog Days” of Summer
When the spring and summer approach, you get the urge to enjoy the great outdoors. What a perfect time to take the dog or dogs out for a jog or nice, long walk. Dogs love all the sights, sound and smell of nature as much as you do. However, when it comes to the heat of summer, there are precautions you should take regarding the health and safety of your pets.
You must remember that a dog does not sweat like we do in order to cool itself – their cooling mechanism is through panting. If the dog is overheated, it can be affected with heatstroke, which can be fatal. The warning signs of overheating are: excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased respiratory rate, drooling, weakness, stupor or collapse. Seizures and bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature are also symptoms. If you notice any of these signs call your veterinarian immediately. Even healthy pets are vulnerable to heat stroke and sunburn. As long as you are prepared, your daily summer dog walks should be all about fun If it is extremely hot out, take frequent short breaks with your dog, especially if it seems to be panting excessively. Always have plenty of water for you and your dog. They have collapsible bowls available for this purpose for pets. Keep your dog away from puddles which can have toxins from outdoor elements. Dogs seem to be attracted to standing water, which can cause severe illness.
Avoid walking on blacktop or other hot surfaces that can burn the pads of your dog. On the other hand, don’t allow your dog to “graze” on grass and around flower beds that can be treated with chemicals and pesticides. Keep your walks with your dog short during excessive heat and hydrate him often. If you note the dog is walking slower, getting lethargic and breathing heavily, it may be a sign that you need to end your walk and find a cool pool or tub of water in order to get relief for your overheated pet. Enjoy the time with your dog by taking necessary precautions for safety – for both of you.
Here are a few tips from the ASPCA to keep in mind:
- It’s a good idea to have your pet examined by a veterinarian in the spring to receive a thorough check up. At this time they should receive heartworm, flea, and tick medication. Since this has been such a mild winter, the fleas are out in full force.
- If possible, keep the air conditioning on in your home to keep it comfortable. Your Pet Sitter’s Club dog walker will thank you too!! Be sure your pet has access to plenty of cool water as they can get dehydrated very quickly. If pets are outdoors be sure they are in the shade. You can place a cool, wet towel on your dogs neck and hose them down with water.
- NEVER leave your pet in the car unattended. The car can heat up within a few minutes even if the windows are open and lead to a fatal stroke.
- Give them a buzz cut! A hair makeover will not only add a little style but will help prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length but leave enough so that your dog still has protection from the sun’s rays. Your kitty should be brushed more often to remove excess fur.
- Remember that all dogs are not natural swimmers. Pets should be introduced to the water gradually. If you take your dog sailing with you, be sure that he has a floatation device. You should rinse your pooch off after his dip to remove any chlorine or salt residue from his fur. And drinking pool water is a no-no as the chemicals can upset his stomach.
- If ingested, flea and tick products, rodenticides, lawn and garden insecticides can be very harmful to your pet. Be sure to keep such products out of reach and avoid walking in areas that have been sprayed with chemicals. Beware of citronella candles, and insect coils. Call your veterinarian, or the APSCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 – an excellent resource if you think your pet has gotten into something.
- Keep your barbequed food, snacks, and summer drinks on your plate and not in Fluffy’s mouth! Human snacks should not be used as a treat. They can cause severe digestive issues…so keep the raisins, grapes, onions, and chocolate to yourself!
- Remember those big booms from thunder and the 4th of July fireworks can make your pet very anxious and frightened.
We at Pet Sitters Club wish you a happy and safe summer!