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Doggone healthy tips for the summer

Julia Szabo with her German Shepherd, Desiree
Julia Szabo with her German Shepherd, Desiree
Julia Szabo and Robin Wulffson, MD

Summer is here and the increased temperatures raise the need for health precautions for both humans and their four-legged pals. For dogs, summer increases the risk for flick and flea infestations as well as hydration and grooming issues. I consulted with Julia Szabo, a pet reporter and animal health advocate regarding how to keep our furry buddy’s happy and healthy this summer.

Flea and tick infestations can incur misery on your pet. In addition, the nasty critters can leap off of Fido and infest you. Julie informed me about an FDA-approved chewable medication that provides 12 weeks of protection from fleas and ticks: Bravecto. The product is only available through a veterinarian. Ask your vet whether the product is right for you pet.

Warm weather prevails through much of the nation during the summer; thus, attention must be paid to hydration. Julia recommends stainless steel bowls. Plastic bowls frequently transmit and odor to the water, which is detectable by the dogs far superior sense of smell. The result may be that your pet will shun the water. In addition, some heated plastics can release toxins into the water. Ceramic bowls are subject to cracking; thus, they can harbor harmful bacteria.

If you own a long haired dog and don’t want to listen to him or her panting in misery like a steam engine, Julia does not recommend a short trim. Instead of overheating, Rover might incur a nasty sunburn. A better alternative is to thin the coat with a shedding tool. Nettles can mat up your mutt’s coat. To remove them, gently pull the hair away from the nettle, rather than yanking on the nettle.

Julia has authored six books, and has provided expert commentary on dog lifestyles for a wide range of print and broadcast media, including Fox News, Newsweek, The New York Times, Town & Country, The New York Post, Traditional Home, Dog Fancy, Country Living, FIDOFriendly, Amazing Wellness, Dogster, and HowCast. Her latest book, Medicine Dog: The Miraculous Cure That Healed My Best Friend and Saved My Life, chronicles the restoration of her health after her dog Sam collapsed from osteoarthritis. Diligently researching how to restore his quality of life, she discovered Vet-Stem, a service that provides cutting-edge regeneration therapy for pets, using stem cells harvested from animals' own tissue. Just hours after receiving IV and intra-joint injections, Sam began aging backward, which left Julia wondering why this simple, effective treatment was not available for humans.

Julia suffered from chronic inflammatory bowel disease, and after witnessing Sam's astonishing recovery, she set out on a curious quest: to be treated like a dog by a doctor as competent as her vet! After a four-year wait, Julia became the first American to be successfully cured of a perirectal fistula with stem cells derived from her own fat. With this amazing true story of how a pack of shelter dogs she rescued from death row came to save her life, Julia hopes to inspire and inform readers about exciting healthcare options available to them and their cherished animal companions.

Julia lives in New York City with her family of rescued dogs. More pet health information is available on her Web site. Information regarding Bravecto is available at this link.