SUMMER SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR DOG! By Sue Senn Sniffles and Friends Dog Walkers Philadelphia, PA http://www.snifflesandfriends.com
Our dogs are treasured family members, so we often welcome our dogs to participate in the special times in our lives – including holidays! However, to a dog every day spent with his favorite human is a holiday and he may not understand the strange people, noises, and events that are often associated with human holiday celebrations. Here are some safety tips to keep your favorite dog safe and happy during any festivity.
GENERAL PARTY TIPS: •Try to adhere as closely as possible to your regular daily routine. Try not to make changes in your dog's playtime, feeding, or activity schedule. •Don't give your dog table scraps. Cookies, lunchmeat, and other party goodies are inappropriate foods for dogs and can easily cause tummy trouble. •If you host a party, remember that some guests may not feel comfortable around dogs. Your dog may, also be uncomfortable in a “crowd”. It might be a good idea to confine him to a quiet room that will be free of guests for the duration. If not, keep him by your side, or with another trusted family member, to keep him from getting underfoot or into trouble. •No matter how much fun the party becomes, do not let anyone give your dog alcohol.
Fourth of July •Very few dogs enjoy the excitement of Fourth of July fireworks. Their ears are much more sensitive than ours, and the sound of fireworks can actually be painful to a dog’s ears. • Dogs don’t enjoy fireworks displays – please leave yours at home. •If there is a fireworks display close enough to your home that it can be heard in your house, please sit down with your dog and comfort him if he appears to be frightened or confused. • If your dog has a history of having had adverse reactions to loud noises, be sure to speak with your veterinarian ahead of time for suggestions that might make the night easier.
General Summer Heat Hazards
If your dog is doors on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot available out in the open. A dog house is not comfortable in the summer, as it traps heat and is worse than being outside. Dogs love wading in a child’s backyard wading pool – you might want to fill one up and have it available for some splashing!
Never EVER leave your dog in a closed vehicle especially in the summer … not even for a second. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Leave your dog at home and he’ll be happily awaiting your return when you get back!
Have cool fresh water available at all times. Avoid mid-day outdoor walks. Go for walks in the morning and in the evening when it’s cool and more pleasant for your dog (and for you!)
Sand and asphalt get very hot and can burn your dog’s paws!
If you have a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed (shih-tzu, boxer, Pekingese, lhasa apso, bulldog, etc.) they do not do well in hot temperatures. Please just leave them indoors in the AC for their safety and comfort.
Summer is a good time to make sure your dogs’ vaccinations are up-to-date. There are lots of other dogs outside and who knows what they can “catch” from someone else if they’re not vaccinated.
Be careful and stay away from lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for at least 24 hours – be aware which plants and flowers are toxic
Be sure to have your dog heartworm tested and on heartworm medications year-round, but especially in the summer and especially if you live in wet, marshy areas. Heartworm is transmitted through mosquitoes and they thrive in these areas.
If you’re enjoying a day at the beach with your favorite pooch, always be sure your dog has a shady area to rest in and plenty of fresh water available.
Did you know that dogs can get sunburn? Especially those with white fur. Apply sunblock and limit their time in direct sunlight.
If your dog is a senior, or just a general couch potato, be careful not to “overdo it” activity-wise. A run on the beach is fun, but not if your dog is out of shape!
Don’t’ let your dog drink salt water – it’ll make him sick.
Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog's coat, so always be sure to spray him off at the end of the day.
Not all beaches allow dogs – be sure to check local ordinances before heading out.
Not all dogs enjoy swimming. Make sure you know if your dog is one who enjoys swimming or not before inviting him into the water. Never just throw a dog into the water! Also, if your dog is a first-time swimmer, it’s a good idea to start in shallow water and work your way out. Reassure him by calling his name and encourage him with toys or a treat. Maybe have him follow another more experienced dog that he likes/trusts.
If your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs and help him float. He will quickly catch on and will know to keep his back end up.
Don't let your dog overdo it; swimming is very strenuous exercise and he may get exhausted quickly.
If you’re swimming in an ocean, be aware of and careful of strong tides.
If you have a backyard pool, make sure your dog knows where the exits are and make sure your pool cover is fastened securely so your dog can’t fall in along the side and drown..
Never EVER leave a dog in water unattended!
Vacations/Travel Air – Many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Check with the airline beforehand so you know their rules and policies re: summer pet travel.
If you do ship a dog, put icepacks or an ice blanket in the dog's crate. (Two- liter soft drink bottles filled with water and frozen work well.) Provide a container of fresh water, as well as a container of frozen water that will thaw over the course of the trip.
Car – Keep your dog cool in the car by putting icepacks in his crate. Be sure the dog’s crate is well-ventilated.
Apply sun-shades to your cars’ windows.
Bring fresh water, a tarp for shade when you stop, and bring a spray bottle to spray your dog and cool him off during pit-stops!
RV – Never rely on the air conditioning and generator systems in your RV or motor home. These devices can malfunction, with tragic results.
If you leave your dog in the RV with the generator running, check it often or have a neighbor monitor it for you in your absence. Some manufacturers have devices that will notify you if the generator should malfunction.
Never leave an RV or motor home completely closed up; even if the generator and AC are running. Always leave a door or window cracked a bit so let out any potential fumes.
Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog's prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog is overcome.
Early Stages: •Heavy panting. •Rapid breathing. •Excessive drooling. •Bright red gums and tongue. •Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.
Advanced Stages: •White or blue gums. •Lethargy, unwillingness to move. •Uncontrollable urination or defecation. •Labored, noisy breathing. •Shock.
If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down: •Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads. •Apply ice packs to the groin area. •Hose down with water. •Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water. •Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.
Check your dog's temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog's temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process.
If you cannot get the dog cooled down and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Download a copy of the July/August 2013 Issue here.
Violet and Cody
Sue's Views for Happy Pets Sniffles and Friends Newsletter - July/August 2013