Summer is coming on fast, so it's time to plan how you will keep your dog safe and healthy through the lazy, carefree, warm days.
Some dog breeds have absolutely no problem with the high temperatures and humidity of summer, while other breeds look forward anxiously to the return of winter. Dogs with short muzzles such as Pugs may have a hard time breathing in the heat of the day. Dogs who are originally from colder climates such as Huskies may prefer the air conditioned house to the yard.
Heat tolerance is not necessarily related to the amount of fur your dog has. In fact, a double-layered coat allows air to circulate, helping the dog to cool off. Shaving your dog to help him or her deal with the heat is usually counter-productive because you remove one of the primary mechanisms your dog has for keeping cool.
If you can't keep your dog indoors in the air conditioning during the hottest part of the day, the best bet is to make sure you provide a shady place with plenty of water. Some people even place a few toys and dog treats in a bucket, fill it with water, then freeze it to allow their dog a fun way to cool off while digging for the hidden treasures.
A kiddie pool will also allow your dog to use the water to cool him/herself during the heat of the day.
Your dog may choose to dig a hole to lay in, as the underlying earth will be cooler than what's on top. Don't be too rough on him for digging up the yard; he's just trying to cool off.
Hairless dogs, or even those who have sparse hair on certain body parts, are prone to sunburn. Again, it's important to provide shade if you can't keep the dog indoors.
Many of you no doubt take great pride in your yard and gardens. Just keep in mind that many of the things we use to produce such beauty are toxic to dogs. Obviously, you need to keep your yard and garden chemicals out of reach of your dogs when you store them, but you also need to make sure your dog doesn't get into them after you apply them. Read the labels for any information related to pets including how long you should restrict your dog's access to the treated areas.
Better yet, look for products that are animal-safe. For example, Water 'N' Play makes a pet safe fertilizer that soaks in immediately after you water it, making the yard safe for your dog in short order.
Summer is a great time to begin that exercise program you've been putting off, and what better way to do it than to go walking with your dog.
Try walking during the early morning hours to avoid the heat of the day, and build up the length and speed of your route over a few weeks to prevent muscle strain.
Your dog might also enjoy hiking in the woods, dock diving, field trials for Earth Dog or hunting, lure coursing, and outdoor agility. The possibilities are endless for both sanctioned and individual activities.
Summer is the time of thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash floods, mud slides, and hurricanes. It sometimes seems as if Mother Nature is conspiring against us. Make sure your emergency plans include your dog. Have a go-bag packed and ready, including medications, food, water, a leash, and a crate. If you are likely to have to evacuate, make sure you know which hotels will allow you to keep your dog with you, and if you plan on using a public shelter, make alternate arrangements for your dog, as most shelters do not allow pets.
More dogs go missing on Independence Day than on any other day of the year. Fireworks are just incredibly scary for most dogs. It’s a good idea to leave your dog home when you go to the show. Put him or her in an interior room or in the basement where the noise might not be so loud, turn on a radio or TV to help diffuse the sound, and use your ThunderShirt or Calming Collar to help the dog relax.
If you will be hosting a holiday party or picnic, keep in mind that some of the foods you serve may be toxic to your dog. Make sure your guests understand whether or not you allow your dog to eat table scraps, and keep an eye on how much food the dog is ingesting. Your carpets will thank you later.
Last, but not least, it's important that you plan ahead for your pets when you go on vacation. Find a reliable sitter or boarding facility if you will be leaving your dog home, and don't forget to include those costs when you draw up your vacation budget.
If you will be taking your dog along, check with your airline and your hotel to find out about their dog policies and fees. If you're travelling outside the continental US, you should be aware that some places such as Hawaii place all arriving dogs in quarantine for up to 14 days so it may not even be worth it to take your dog for a shorter trip.
If you're driving, don't forget that your dog should be buckled in, just like your kids are. Use a seatbelt harness or crate your dog for the trip to reduce the possibility of the driver being distracted by a dog's tail suddenly wagging in his face. Also, securing your dog makes it less likely he or she will be injured in the event of a crash. Most pet stores carry a wide variety of seat belts and harnesses that will do the trick.
No matter how you travel, make sure your dog's shots are up to date, and that you have proof of that fact. Many places will require a copy of your dog's shot record before they allow him or her to enter.
Before you go, check your dog's tags to make sure they are legible and contain your cell phone number. It will do no good for anyone who finds your dog to try and call you on your landline while you are out of town.
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