Summer can be an amazing time for you and your dog. Warm weather makes it more fun to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. Morning and evening walks, playing in the park and enjoying the warmth of the sun. It can also be an uncomfortable and even dangerous time for your pet. Statistics show that pet owners make more trips to the veterinarian office than any other time of year. More visits for injuries, skin infections, pest infestations, cheat grass removal and ear infections are observed. Here are summer care tips for your dog that will help to keep your beloved pet happier and healthier.
Protect your pet’s delicate skin
Humans use sunblock to protect their skin from the harmful UV rays that the sun generates in the summer time. Many pet owners do not know that skin cancer is common in dogs and in most cases, it is highly preventable. When your dog is going to be out in the sunlight, he or she should be treated with an application of pet sunblock. You should completely cover the area that has sparse hair coverage. Dense fur covering can help to block the sun for some dogs, but there are others who need to have protection to keep them healthy and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. It can be reapplied every three to four hours or after playing in the water for the best protection. Make sure to cover their bellies and around the ears. Avoid the pet sunblock products that contain zinc oxide, because this is an ingredient that may be toxic to your pup. Always read the label before buying.
Never leave your pet in a vehicle alone
One of the worst things a dog owner can do is to leave him alone in a car during the summer months. Temperatures inside a vehicle rise quickly. Even if you’re just running into the market for a few items, leaving your pet inside can spell disaster. Hundreds of pets are injured or killed from being trapped in overheated vehicles during the warm months. As temperatures rise, so does their internal temperature. Dogs can suffer heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke, just as easily as people. Even leaving the window cracked may not be enough. Your dog may become dehydrated, suffer brain damage or even die from being left in a car during the warm months. If you must take your dog with you, don’t go into any places that he is not welcome as well. Don’t combine quick visits to the veterinary’s office with any other stops, unless it’s to leave your pet at home or with a sitter. Protect your pet from overexposure to the heat.
Keep the water bowl full
The heat of summer can cause the water in your dog’s bowl to evaporate at a faster rate. Keep an eye on this to make sure that your pet always has access to a generous supply of fresh, clean water. Dehydration is a serious matter that can lead to severe illness or death. If you’re going on a road trip with your pet, take a water bowl and plenty of water along. Make frequent stops to let him drink and go potty. Your pet can’t tell you when he’s thirsty so do your part to make certain that he gets enough water to stay properly hydrated.
Plan walks during cooler hours
Summer is a great season to go for long and leisurely walks with your pet, but the hottest part of the day is not the best time to go. Instead, take your walks in the early morning and later in the evening. It’s important to remember that your pet has a furry coat that will make their body heat more quickly, and it will retain the heat. Even if it doesn’t feel that hot to you, your pet may become overheated more quickly. Take it easy on him and choose walk times that do not expose him to the hottest parts of the day when temperatures are high. In fact, it’s a good idea to limit strenuous exercise in the full hot sun.
Provide shaded areas
Your dog will feel as uncomfortable and miserable as you do under the hot summer sun. If you spend time outdoors with your pet on hot days, make sure that he has a shaded area to retreat to. This could be a large beach umbrella, a makeshift tarp shade, gazebo, or anywhere that has leafy trees offering shade. It’s just as important for your dog to find a place to get out of the sun as it is for you. Don’t kick him out of the shade you’ve made for yourself. Instead, plan ahead to ensure that the shaded area you put up is big enough for everyone, including your pets.
Some of the best moments in a dog’s life are summer vacations. These are times when owners break out the RVs and participate in enjoyable summer sports. When motorized vehicles are involved, it increases the risk of your pet becoming injured. When everyone is having a good time, it can be easy to lose track of where your pet is at. He or she may run out in front of a bicycle, a dirt bike, side by side or other type of recreational vehicle. Take the time to secure your pet in a safe place when you’re operating recreational vehicles nearby. Many pets have been injured or killed by RVs while on vacation.
Never leave your dog alone in water
Some dogs truly love the water. In warm weather, it’s fine to let your dog swim in safe bodies of water and swimming pools. Although most are excellent swimmers, accidents may still happen. You should never leave your pet unattended in a swimming pool or any other body of water. If something should happen, you need to be close enough to give assistance, so your dog does not drown. Yes, there have been many cases of dogs drowning in small amounts of water. Don’t let your beloved pet become one of these statistics. Monitor your pet when he is around any uncovered pools or water sources. It’s far better to be safe than to be sorry.
Train your dog to use pool ladders
Even if you plan to monitor your pet closely around swimming pools, you never know when a situation will draw your attention away from the dog. It only takes a moment for your dog to jump or fall into a pool and be unable to get out. You may be able to avoid accidental drowning situations by training your dog how to climb out of a pool ladder. In fact, this is a skill that could save his or her life in an emergency situation.
Leave long haired dog coats long
Common beliefs are that cutting a dog’s hair short will help to keep them cooler in the summer. The truth is that a dog’s hair is important in regulating his or her body temperature. If you cut the coat short, it could throw his internal heating and cooling system out of whack, leading to more serious problems in the future. Resist the urge to shave your dog in the summer and if he’s a long-haired breed, do him a favor and keep the coat he’s wearing long. You can still give him a trim, but don’t take his coat down too short.
Treat burns with safe products
Dogs can become burned as quickly as their owners in the summer time. Campfire burns are among the most common. Sunburns also happen regularly. These can be uncomfortable or painful for your pet, so don’t just ignore a burn injury. Some burn creams contain toxic ingredients, so the best alternative for treating injury or sunburns on your dog is with Aloe Vera. This should be gently applied to the affected area. Dogs are notorious for licking medications applied to the skin. Aloe Vera is a safe and effective option that won’t have any harmful effects if it is ingested by your pet.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion
It’s important to know when your dog may have had too much sun. Summer time can be a dangerous time for humans and their pets. Just like us, dogs can get too much sun or become overheated. It’s very important to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion. During the first stages, your dog will pant heavily. His or her gums may turn very bright red or become dry. They may slobber with thick drool. They may experience diarrhea, vomiting or the may exhibit signs of weakness with wobbly legs. If your dog shows signs of heat stress, avoid placing them in very cold water because this could cause your pet to go into shock. Move your dog to a place that is cool, but not cold. Place a damp towel over the length of your dog’s body. Continue to re-moisten the towel. Definitely take steps to bring your dog’s body temperature down, call the veterinarian and get them in to be seen for an examination as quickly as possible. Your dog’s body temperature will run between 100 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit normally. When it rises to 104, there is a problem and a dog can die or suffer severe health impairment when their internal body temperatures reach 106 or more.
Supply Air Conditioning
People know when it’s time to get out of the midday heat and get under the air conditioning. Often, pets are left outside when the temperatures are soaring. Your pet needs to cool down as much as you do. Bring your dogs into the air-conditioned area so they can cool their internal body temperatures too. It’s extremely miserable to wear a fur coat in the broiling sun, so always consider the fact that your dog as a coat on that they can’t take on and off. If you don’t have air conditioning, make sure that your pet is in an area where he has plenty of shade, access to any cool breezes that blow and plenty of water. Many pet owners put up a small children’s wading pool for their pet to play in and cool down on hot days. Don’t rely on your pet finding the shade of an automobile to get in out of the sun, because the temperatures will soar near metal objects that collect and store heat during the day.
Boating and water sport safety
If you’re into summer water sports and you like to take your dog along to enjoy the fun, make sure that he also has a life jacket. Choose a pet life vest that is a bright color, so you will be able to see him if you get separated in the water. This will help to keep him safe from drowning. Although most dogs are excellent swimmers, they are just as prone to accidental drownings as people are. It’s a good idea to start getting your dog used to wearing a life jacket while you’re still on dry land. By doing this, your pet is less likely to struggle, or to try to take it off when you’re out in the water or in a boat. Any water safety precautions that are taken with adults or small children, should also be observed with your pet when you’re playing on the water.
Don’t force your dog into the water
If you’re out for a swimming party and your dog is hesitant to jump in the water, it isn’t a good idea to abruptly throw them in. This could traumatize your pet and make them even more afraid of the water. Some dogs love the water, but just like people, some may have an intense fear of it. Gently introduce your pet to the water and to swimming and do it in stages. Don’t push your dog too far when it comes to his or her comfort level. It’s best to let your dog decide when it’s time to take the big plunge. Would you want someone to shove you into the water if you’re afraid? Treat your dog with the same compassion that you would want shown to you.
Keep an eye on your dog at all times near water sources
This applies to camping near bodies of water, swimming, water skiing and other recreational activities near water. Even if your dog loves the water and willingly jumps in for an occasional swim, it just takes seconds for him to get caught in a current and carried downstream. Make sure that you are in a close enough proximity to your pet to assist if he gets in trouble in the water. The same goes for outings at the beach. Occasionally, a dangerous current will come close to the shore line and your beloved pet could easily be swept out to sea.
Be wary of algae covered ponds
There are some places that you shouldn’t allow your dog to play or swim when you’re outdoors. Ponds, lakes or streams that are near swampy areas can present a danger. Your dog could get trapped in quicksand or thick mud. He could also fall into a sinkhole. Ponds that are covered with blue green algae are places that you should definitely keep your pet away from. If there is a layer of scummy looking water that is accompanied by a nasty smell, the area is not safe for either you or your pet. There are some serious toxins found in blue green algae and it can make your dog very sick or even make him have seizures if he ingests any of the water. Even if he simply licks the contaminated water from his fur, he can get sick very quickly. Don’t take any chances. Keep your pet restrained to prevent him from jumping in or drinking the water because the results could become deadly.
Watch out for heartworm infections
Summer time is when heartworms and hookworm infections are the most prevalent. They can get into the pads of your dog’s feet and travel upwards into other parts of the body. You can’t see them so it’s vital that you take preventative measures to protect your pet from potentially fatal heartworm and hookworm infections. The best plan of action is to talk with your dog’s veterinarian and ask for a prescription medication that will help to prevent your pet from becoming infected. There are also over the counter medications that can help to keep your dog safe, but it’s always a good idea to check with the vet first and get his or her recommendations. Your vet will know which types are the safest and most effective for your pet. Make sure that you take your dog in for regular checkups to ensure that he is not already infected. Treatment is the most effective when it is done in the early stages of any heartworm or hookworm infection. Keep your pet pest free and healthy during the summer months.
Tick and flea repellent
Early Spring through Fall months can bring out a bountiful crop of ticks in grassy or wooded areas. Getting bitten by a tick can become a serious matter. They are known to carry a variety of potentially deadly diseases for both humans and animals. Some ticks inject neurotoxins into the sight of the bite that can lead to seizures, coma or death if it isn’t detected and dealt with. Never pull a fully embedded tick off of your pet because the head is likely to remain under the skin and this could lead to blood poisoning or at a minimum, a nasty infection.
Inspect your pet regularly for any sign of ticks. If you find one, cover it in a thick substance, such as baby oil, so it has to back its head out in order to breathe. Ticks breathe through the pores in their bodies. By doing this, you’ll be able to get the head out along with the body.
Fleas are another problem that dogs may have during the summer months. Watch for the signs of infection. If your dog is biting themselves or scratching, check to see if there is a black dusty looking coating on bared parts of the skin where there is little hair present. This is known as flea dust and it’s a dead give away that your dog is infested with fleas. Use a good flea shampoo, flea powder or a flea collar to repel them. Your vet may also put your dog through a flea dip to rid him of all fleas and flea eggs.
Protect your pet from dangerous plants
Summer is the time of year when people like to enjoy the outdoors along with their pets. There are several hundred plants that can be dangerous for your pet however. Dogs and especially puppies like to chew on plants, but this could have dangerous effects on your pet’s health. Some are poisonous and can make your dog sick or even kill him. A few of the many to watch out for are azaleas, several varieties of lilies, and so many varieties that it’s not wise to allow your pet to chew on any plant. If your dog begins to drool, have diarrhea or vomit, he may have eaten a toxic plant. These plants scan also cause abnormal heartbeats, a fast heart rate, seizures, kidney problems and more. It’s just not worth the risk. The same goes for insecticides that you may use on plants in your yard, and plant foods and fertilizers. While these are great for having healthy plants, they can make your dog tragically ill or worse.
Protect your dog from fireworks
The fourth of July is a great holiday that is a lot of fun for most people, but your dog may have another opinion. Loud fireworks can be very frightening for your pet. If your dog is uncomfortable with what’s going on outside, find a place in the house that mutes the sound. You may want to turn up some music or turn the television on to help make him more comfortable while the booms and bangs are going off. Make sure to pick up all the debris the next day because spent fireworks can be a health hazard for your dog if he decides to chew on them.