With the official start of summer upon us, it’s critical that pet owners are reminded of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke that dogs can suffer outdoors without proper hydration and shelter ventilation. There’s also the danger of parasite infection and even poor interaction with other humans and dogs if pets are not properly introduced or socialized beforehand.
John Ziegler, dog well-being expert and founder of Biscuits & Bath, offers the following suggestions for helping your dog stay healthy, safe and comfortable all summer long:
- Before heading to the park, if your dog has never been around other dogs before, introduce him/her to social settings in a controlled environment first. A quality day care facility that offers on-site trainers or behavior counselors can provide the most pleasant and stress-free integration into a pack environment.
- Have realistic expectations. If your dog isn’t polite or friendly with others, get help from a Certified Professional Trainer to change his/her behavior before going to a dog park. Parks are not a place to rehabilitate fearful or aggressive dogs, or those that just don’t know how to play well with others. Before entering the park, spend a few minutes watching the other dogs play and interact. If it appears too rough or intimidating, come back some other time.
- Not all dogs like the water, and not all dogs are natural swimmers. If you take your pup to the beach or out on a boat, spend time training him/her to swim and enjoy the water ahead of time. Also, if your dog is not a natural swimmer, make sure you get a proper life jacket for him/her to wear.
- Since your windows will be open more often in the months ahead, check to make sure all screens are secure to prevent pets from falling through them.
- As heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, make sure your dog has a yearly heartworm screening and is on monthly heartworm protection.
- Keep walks to a minimum when it’s very hot outside. Asphalt can cause paw burns and dogs can overheat being closer to the hot ground. Also, sand can get extremely hot and some dogs’ paws are more sensitive than others, so check your pup’s pads frequently when playing on the beach. If your dog overheats, apply rubbing alcohol on his/her paw pads to immediately reduce body temperature.
- Make sure your dog has access to shade and plenty of water when outside, and at a barbecue.
- Never leave your dog in a parked car because temperatures can rise to deadly levels in as little as two minutes.
- Carry water and a collapsible bowl with you. Better yet, teach your dog to wear a pack and carry his/her own water.
- Put a colorful bandana on your pup. This is a fun way to identify your dog, and it can be soaked in water for some extra cooling down.
- Ensure the under (winter) coat has been thoroughly brushed-out. Most dog coats act as insulation, so excess fur must be removed when the season changes and it is warmer out.
Biscuits & Bath services include doggy day care (including 24 hour), dog grooming, dog walking, dog training and more. Learn all about John Ziegler and the business history on the Biscuits & Bath website.
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