It’s safe to say that summer is here. The backyard is all setup for the season, you’ve updated your summer wardrobe, the kids are out of school, gardens are planted, and you’re embracing all that summer has to offer. If you’re a dog owner, it’s important that getting set up for the summer extends to your four legged family member. This means gearing up and making sure that your dog is safe in their surroundings and has the means to stay cool from the scorching sun. With a few easy steps, your beloved pooch will be a happy camper this summer…
1. Put out extra water bowls. In the cold weather months, we have one large indoor water bowl and that’s plenty. In the summer, we have 3. There are 2 outdoors and one inside. Dogs are active and overheat very easily. I can’t stress how important it is to make sure their bowls are filled with fresh water. During the summer months, this might mean checking and refilling several times a day, but this will prevent dehydration. Usual signs of dehydration are excessive drooling, dry gums and loss of skin elasticity.
2. Provide a cooling zone. If you’re going to let your dog outside for extended periods of time, make sure there is ample shade. Another great means of providing some relief from the sun is to fill a small plastic pool with water. We bought one at Walmart for about $15 and we keep it filled with cold water. Our dog splashes around throughout the day and he loves it! It keeps him cool and content.
3. Stock up on flea & tick control. This is the season for fleas and ticks and taking preventative steps is a must. These pests can get out of control in a very short period of time. Fleas can be carriers of intestinal parasites and ticks are carriers of a few as well including Lyme disease. You can take advantage of the summer sales going on now at both PetSmart and PETCO. They carry brands like Advantix, Sentry, Frontline and 8 in 1. Sign up for their emails and you’ll get exclusive PetSmart coupons and PETCO coupons. I did this a couple years ago and I’ve never paid full price for any flea & tick preventative. Keep in mind that even if you’ve given your dog a treatment, it’s a good idea to check for both flea and ticks several times a week.
4. Keep up with the grooming. Regardless of how long or short your dogs fur is, it’s important to keep up with the grooming. For dogs with longer hair, this is the perfect season to take them in for a trim. Not only will this keep your dog cool, but it prevents debris from the ground making it’s home in the fur. It’s easy for small twigs, grass and dirt to be picked up by longer fur especially if your dog goes for walks through the woods. With shorter hair, it’s also easier to check for ticks. Also, keep your dog brushed to prevent matting. In time, matted fur can cause skin irritation.
5. Gear up for safe travels. Planning a long trip? The kids aren’t the only ones you need to prepare. If you’re taking Fido with you, you’ll need to make sure your geared up. Your list should include portable water bowls, pet travel barriers, a car harness and plenty of snacks. When you make a pit stop for a bite to eat or anything that requires you to be away from the car for awhile, park the car in a shady spot and keep the windows cracked for proper ventilation. The inside of a car heats up very quickly. Keeping your dog in a parked car alone during the summer for any length of time is not a good idea.
6. Dogs get heat stroke too. Did you know that your dog doesn’t sweat like we do? They regulate their body temperature by panting and sweat minimally through the bottom of their feet. When dogs don’t have means to cool off, heat stroke can set in and it can be life threatening. Early signs include rapid panting, heavy breathing, excessive drooling, weakness and vomiting. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. To cool your dog off from your home to the vet, soak a towel with cool (not ice cold) water and wrap it around it’s body.