Exercise Caution During Dog Days of Summer
If you are reading this article, then you consider your pup a member of your family. Even the loyal family dog needs safeguards to thrive during summer’s hottest days. From fresh water to sunscreen, dogs need extra attention when the temperatures are at their highest.
All living creatures need water to survive. During the extremely hot weather, not only dogs but all critters need to have a good, constant supply of clean, fresh water. With temperatures hovering in the high 90s or higher than average, even fifteen to twenty minutes in the sun can be too much.
Just as you should watch your human family, pay attention to your dog for signs of overheating. Typical signs of a dog overheating are:
- pet doesn’t respond to you as they normally would
- he pants with more tongue extended than normal
- starts fidgeting around looking for shade
If these signs are present, it is time to head inside to cool down.Just how can I keep my pup cool? If your pup is a foodie, there are hundreds of choices for cool summer play from homemade ice molds, special pup ice cream treats to their very own doggie pool.
Doggie pools (okay, you can use a kiddie pool for this) helps cool the dog from the underside up. Once the pup is wet and the wind blows, it will cool the dog down. You do need to keep the pool clean and free of algae and replace the water frequently because you know your dog will drink from the pool. They always do!
With any water source, clean water is the key. Definitely keep the holding source free of algae. Some types of algae thrive in low to no oxygen environments and can be harmful/toxic to a dog. Vomiting, diarrhea can ensue and, in rare cases, it can be fatal. So don’t just look at your canine cement pond, keep an eye on bird baths, tires and additional items which may be in your backyard hold water. These all need your attention as well. Containers or structures holding water need to be emptied regularly to keep algae and mosquitos from growing and thriving. Those pesky mosquitos can carry West Nile virus or heartworms which we all know are reek havoc on us and our canine pals.
If you are going to keep something out of the reach of children, you should also keep it out of the reach of dogs. While we are on the subject of being outside, remember dogs and grills don’t mix. While a dog may realize the grill is hot and wouldn’t ordinarily play with or be interested in a hot grill, your pup could run into the grill when chasing a thrown ball or frisbee initiating a trip to the animal hospital ER.
Grills are not the only hot items that can harm your dog. Hot asphalt and parking lots can also be hazardous in extremely hot weather. Dogs paws are tender and can blister. Consider the ground temperature or asphalt temp before taking your dog on a run or walk during the summer heat. Might be best for you and your pal to walk during the early evening hours so the ambient temperature and the asphalt temps have a chance to cool down a bit.
Dogs can also sunburn. Reflected as well as direct sunlight can burn the skin of light colored or thin coated dogs. Watch the tips of their ears, their noses as well as their tummies for sunburn.
When considering a proper sunscreen for your pooch, a word of caution is necessary. Stay away from sunscreens containing zinc, which is toxic to dogs. One great rule of thumb to remember is, if the sunscreen is approved for usage with human children, then it is most likely safe for your fur babies. Talk with your veterinary professional to determine the right sunscreen for your dog.
Dogs need as much attention from the hazards of summertime as we do. Keep all these points in mind during the summer and you and your canine pal can have the absolute most fun possible during these lazy, hazy, dog days of summer.
Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.
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