With summer in full swing, no doubt you’re spending more time outdoors and enjoying the beautiful weather with your best friend. Common sense tells us to make sure we protect ourselves before heading outdoors by applying sunscreen, wearing a hat to avoid heatstroke, and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. The same also applies to our pets.
Here are some handy tips to help keep your dog safe this summer:
BEWARE OF TICKS AND FLEAS
Fleas and ticks can be an issue any time of year but particularly in the summer when your pet is spending more time outdoors. A flea or tick bite not only causes your pet discomfort but can potentially put your dog’s health at risk.
Some things you can do to reduce your dog’s risk of ending up with fleas or a tick bite include:
- When out hiking or strolling through the park with your dog, stay in the center of the trails
- Regularly check your dog for fleas or ticks
- Keep your yard clear of leaf piles and litter and mow the lawn regularly
- Use a monthly topical flea and tick preventative treatment that kills fleas at all life stages, as well as adult ticks, to keep your pet safe.
Staying hydrated is important for overall well-being, particularly in hot weather. Dehydration occurs when more fluids are lost than taken in. Without enough water, your dog’s body cannot function properly. Water is necessary to regulate body temperature — it flushes out toxins, helps with digestion and bowel movements, keeps joints lubricated, and increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain.
So, what can you do to prevent your dog from suffering from dehydration?
Avoid physical activity when the sun is at its peak. Instead of taking a lunch time stroll with your dog, schedule your walks for early morning or late afternoon. If you do walk your dog mid-day, take short walks, try as much as possible to stay in the shade and always have a water bottle on hand.
Encourage your dog to play in the water – spray with them the hose, play fetch in the pool, invest in a kiddy pool and encourage your dog just to sit in the water to cool off.
On hot days, it’s best just to keep your dog indoors, but whether indoors or out, always make sure your pet has access to fresh, clean water.
BY THE POOL OR AT THE BEACH
Not all dogs are great swimmers, particularly flat-faced breeds. Some dogs tire quickly while others are built in such a way that they have trouble staying afloat. If you’re planning on spending time with your dog in the backyard pool, at the beach or a lakeside cottage, a specially designed life vest for your pup can ensure you and your best friend have a great day by the water.
And of course, if you are spending a good part of the day outside with your pet, make sure to take plenty of shade and water breaks – being in the water may cool everyone off, but the extended sun exposure can still pose a risk for sunburn and heatstroke.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR
Never ever leave your dog unattended in a hot vehicle, even with the window open. Along with the hot temperatures comes a risk of overheating and heatstroke, not just for us but for our pets too. Some signs to look out for are:
- Heavy panting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dark red gums
- Glazed eyes
If you notice any of these signs or suspect your pet may have heatstroke, contact your vet immediately!
PROTECT THEIR PAWS
At some point, we’ve all walked barefoot on asphalt, concrete or even sand on a hot, sunny day. Now imagine how the scorching surface feels on your dog’s paws.
Surfaces such as asphalt and pavement can get very hot and cause your pet’s paws to burn or blister and can lead to a rise in their body temperature, possibly resulting in heatstroke.
Some ways to avoid this include:
- Take your dog for walks in the early morning or in the evening when the temperature is cooler
- Avoid walking on the hot pavement if you can, opting for grass instead
- If walking in the middle of the day, keep walks short
Summer is a great time for celebrations, but with the festivities can come loud noises. Some dogs don’t react well to loud noises, particularly fireworks, and it can cause them a great deal of stress. So, how do you help your pet feel safe and calm when the fireworks are on display?
- Avoid fireworks if you can – take your last walk of the day earlier in the evening, before the fireworks begin, and don’t take your dog to the fireworks display
- Keep your dog indoors while the fireworks are in progress – create a comforting safe space for your dog, whether it’s a quiet corner, a room, or their crate, with toys, treats, and anything else they enjoy. Keep windows and blinds closed for the duration of the fireworks, turn on the TV or play some music to drown out the sound.
- Collar and microchip – you’ve done everything you can think of to make sure your dog is safe, but what happens if he manages to escape anyway? Making sure the information on your dog’s collar is up-to-date and that your dog is microchipped will make all the difference in having your best friend found and returned to you in a timely manner.
We’re hoping you find these tips helpful and that you and your best friend have a great summer!