Before settling back to enjoy the fine warm weather with your dog, make plans to keep him comfortable, healthy and safe.
Make sure Fido has a shady spot to rest when he is outside. Doghouses trap heat and are not suitable summer shelter. A small wading pool filled with fresh water can help him cool off and have some fun.
Fur helps insulate dogs from high heat and protects them from sunburn so don’t shave Fido to the skin. A little fur also minimizes bug bites.
Read the labels of lawn or garden chemicals you use and post signs to warn other pet owners of their risks. Thoroughly water in fertilizers and other lawn care products and keep pets and children off until completely dry (or according to package/lawn company instructions).
Lawn and garden chemicals can be inhaled during a walk or ingested when your pet cleans his paws and fur afterwards, leading to serious illness. Paw irritation is also common: rinse paws in water and dry with a towel when he comes inside.
Snail, slug, mouse, ant, and roach baits are often appealing to dogs and can be hazardous if not fatal to them. Keep them out of Fido’s reach.
There are many plants that can be poisonous to pets. Lists are available at www.healthypet.com and www.avma.org. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian immediately. Emergency guidance is available at ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
When hiking, check paw pads and between toes for burrs, thistles, ticks, and other hitchhikers. Check Fido’s nostrils, ears, tail, head, and armpits for ticks often. Remove ticks with tweezers, being careful not to leave their heads embedded. Apply rubbing alcohol.
Avoid walking Fido on hot asphalt, sand, metal, and other heat-absorbing surfaces that can burn his paw pads.
Always have plenty of cool, fresh water available for Fido at home, in the car, or out and about.
Some dogs don’t know when enough is enough. Don’t let Fido over-exert himself in the heat.
Rinse Fido off with fresh water after swimming to remove chlorine and salt and dry his ears completely to avoid ear infections.
Keep Fido’s head inside your vehicle: flying dirt can injure his eyes and other objects thrown up by traffic can hit his head. There is also the chance that he could squeeze out of an open window.
Fido should never, ever be left alone in a car in hot or warm weather. Heatstroke and death can occur within minutes in warm temperatures, even with the window cracked.
If you see pets or children unattended in vehicles on warm days, please call the police or fire department – time is critical.
Tip of the week: Many dogs find ice cubes a refreshing treat in the heat! Until then, keep those tails a waggin’!