As you know, everyone at Physician Skin loves their furriest family members! We thought it appropriate, with the HALO Rescue donation drive we were doing this week, that our weekly blog posts pertain to caring for our pets in the summertime. We not only need to adapt and change our routines to stay safe in the summer – we need to do it on behalf of our pets that look forward to the carefree days of summer, as much as we do!
Following are tips from Cesar Milan, the beloved Dog Whisperer, on protecting your dog this summer.
1. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously high. It is most common when dogs are left in a car for too long, or when they exercise in the heat. Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather, and always remember that a cracked window is not enough to cool a car. Your dog always needs access to shade outside. Muzzling interferes with a dog’s ability to cool itself by panting and should be avoided. This is especially important in Phoenix’s brutal heat.
Dogs can burn in the sun just like people can. White, light-colored, and thinly coated dogs have an increased risk of sunburn. Sunburn causes pain, itching, peeling, and other problems. To prevent sunburn, apply a waterproof sunscreen formulated for babies or pets. Be sure to cover the tips of your dog’s ears and nose, the skin around its mouth, and its back.
3. Burned Foot Pads
Sidewalk, patio, street, sand. and other surfaces can burn your dog’s footpads. Walk your dog in the morning and at night when outdoor surfaces are coolest. Press your hand onto surfaces for 30 seconds to test them before allowing your dog to walk on them. If it is painful for you, it will be painful for your dog. You can also find booties to protect their feet at most pet supply stores.
Prevent dehydration by providing your dog with unrestricted access to fresh and cool water both indoors and outside. Ice cubes and frozen chicken or beef broth encourage your dog to take in more fluids and help keep it cool. You can also feed your dog wet dog food during the summer to increase its fluid intake.
Some fireworks look like sticks, which makes your dog think that they are toys. The loud noises and sudden flash of fireworks can disorient and startle your dog, causing it to run wildly. If you cannot avoid being around fireworks, then keep your dog on a very short leash.
6. Campfires and Barbecues
Your dog may try to take burning sticks from the fire, which are hard to retrieve since they think that you are playing when you chase them. Food that is stuck to barbecues after cooking can tempt your dog to lick the barbecue and burn its tongue or mouth. Lighter fluid is a poison and should not be left where your dog can reach it. Keep your dog away from barbecues and campfires unless it is on a very short leash. Watch Cesar’s video on how to set up a successful BBQ that your dog can attend.
7. Chemicals in the Water
It is no secret that most dogs love to swim. Swimming can be fun for you and your dog and helps prevent heat stroke. However, chlorine can irritate a dog’s skin and upset its stomach. Rinse your dog with fresh water after swimming in a pool and do not let it drink more than a small amount of pool water. Standing water, such as puddles, can also be dangerous for dogs to drink due to the presence of antifreeze or other chemicals. Provide your dog with fresh water to drink whenever possible.
8. Seasonal Allergies
Fleas, mold, flowers, and other potential allergens are common during summer. Allergies cause itching (and with it, excessive scratching), coughing, sneezing, discomfort, and other problems for your dog. Keep your dog away from allergy triggers when possible, especially if you know it has a particular allergy. Ask your veterinarian about whether your pet would benefit from a canine antihistamine or other medication.
Ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, and other insects are at their peak during the summer months. Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate protection such as collars, sprays, shampoos, dips, and other products.
10. Getting Lost
Take care when traveling with your dog during the summer to prevent it from becoming lost in unfamiliar surroundings. Always have someone watching your dog if it is off its leash. A collar with a contact information tag should be considered the minimum safety precaution. Microchip your dog if you desire more reliable identification.
Most of these tips are common sense but are always a good reminder to see summer adventures through your pet’s eyes and what possible dangers they can pose to them.