Summertime and Our Dogs

The summer months are a wonderful time to get out and spend time with our dogs. However, life in the sun is not always easy for our four-legged companions. Just like humans, our pets can dehydrate, overheat, sunburn and suffer from insect bites. By following the below precautions, you can keep your pets healthy and happy while enjoying the summer.

• Never leave your dog in the vehicle in warm weather. This can cause hyperthermia, which can be fatal. Even with your windows open, your vehicle can quickly heat up. Parking in the shade can be a risk as well as the sun shifts throughout the day.
• Exercise your dog in the cooler temperatures in the early morning or later evening. Do not run your dog or limit exercise in hot/humid weather. Do not exercise them after a meal.
• Always carry a large container of water when travelling with your dog.
• Do not let your dog stand on asphalt in hot weather and keep walks during these times to a minimum. A dog’s body can heat up easily and their paw pads can burn.
• Take your dog to the vet for an early summer check up. Test for heartworm and get some flea/tick treatment for your dog, if you have not already.
• Avoid areas that have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals.
• Watch for antifreeze or other automotive fluids leaking from vehicles. Small amounts of these can prove to be fatal to your dog.
• Older, overweight and snub-nosed dogs (bulldogs, boston terriers, pugs, lhasa apsos, shih tzus, etc) are particularly sensitive to the heat. They should be kept in air-conditioned and cooler locations as much as possible. This also applies for dogs with lung/heart diseases.
• Good grooming can prevent summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length helps to prevent overheating. Never shave a dog’s coat down to the skin as this allows the dog no protection against the sun.
• Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
• Signs of overheating in pets include excessive panting and drooling and mild weakness, along with an elevated body temperature. If you see any signs of these seek medical attention for your dog immediately.

By following some simple guidelines to ensure your dog is safe this summer, you will be sure to enjoy many great days with your dog. Enjoy the weather and keep your dog cool by fun activities such as a kiddy-pool in the backyard. Fill this with cool water and put a large piece of ice in the middle. Play in the sprinkler with them, or for those dogs who enjoy it, spray them down with the hose.

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