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Dog Days of Summer!

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, but do so with your pet’s safety in mind.  Nationwide, studies show a marked decrease in incidents of heat-related death in pets, so owners seem to be getting the message about not leaving pets in cars (either that, or animal advocates really ARE breaking windows and calling police!).  But, what about other hidden dangers – like a walk in the park?  It’s all about awareness! Here are some tips and ideas for keeping Fido and Fluffy safe this summer.

Leave your dog home on hot errand days: Not only is it dangerous, in some states, it’s illegal (Nevada and California come to mind).  Car temperatures can easily reach 30 degrees higher than outside temps! Windows and a water dish aren’t enough: if you possibly can, just leave Fido at home.  If not, please make sure you limit errand time to ten minutes, and be sure to find a shady spot to park. It might mean a longer walk for you across the parking lot, but at least Fido will be more secure.

Make sure pets have plenty of water:  This is a must for all pets, especially in hot weather.  Some people state that cats that eat high-quality canned food may not need access to water, but it should be offered anyway. For all outside animals and wildlife, providing a source of fresh water could be the difference between life and death.

Provide ample shelter if your pet MUST stay outside: See some “cool” ideas in our July 2012 blog post, Beat the Heat. Also, a cooling pad for him to sleep on is a great addition to consider. These pads (think TV’s “Chillow”) in his kennel or shaded area can be a real relief from the summer heat.  The gel in the pad helps lower the body’s temperature, thus making him much more comfortable. Some sample brands can be found on amazon.com.

Walk your dog in the evening or early in the day: This seems logical, but it’s one of the best things you can do to prevent heatstroke. On longer walks, be sure to bring a dog water bottle or portable dish, or try one of the new cool vests (see some great samples here).

Watch for signs of heatstroke: As you can see in the following graphic from the MidAtlantic Bulldog Rescue, signs of heatstroke in dogs aren’t always really obvious, and some breeds are more susceptible than others.  If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, call the vet immediately. Cool water (not cold!) dribbled over the dog and in towels wrapped on his feet may help, as will giving him ice cubes to chew or lick. 


Keep your dog away from wildlife on the beach and in the woods: A nice romp in the woods!? Who doesn’t love it? Well, apparently, the wildlife! All mammals have the potential to carry rabies, so letting your dog off lead in a park or on the beach can be dangerous.  And, in wilder areas, there’s also a potential for poisonous snakes or even hunting predators. Running on the beach may be fun, too, but if you live near the ocean, any number of hidden dangers could be present. Before letting Fido off the lead, be certain he comes well when called. It could prevent an encounter with a protective mother or even a jellyfish sting.

Here is a helpful infographic from Petfinder featuring  the:

6 Common Summer Dangers

Enjoy the dog (and cat!) days of summer!

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