Wuf’s favorite dog trainer, Melissa Anderson Knox, shares some important safety considerations for pets now that summer is well under way in Dallas.
Food and Fireworks
Time to grill! If you won’t eat it, your dog probably shouldn’t either. Fatty scraps, leftovers and bones should be disposed of properly. Additional patio pitfalls include alcohol, bug sprays, fertilizers, charcoal, lighter fluid. Keep these and other hazardous items away from your pets.
Forego the fear factor – this time each year shelters are inundated with dogs (and cats) that run away due to fireworks. For tips on keeping your pets safe during the Fourth of July (and other holidays), visit http://apdt.com/pet-owners/safety/holidays/.
Chasin’ Sticks on Route 66
Travelling with your dog can be lots of fun, but planning is critical for a successful trip. Some dogs might prefer to stay at home with a sitter or spend time at canine camp. Not all places accept pets so knowing where to go and if there is a fee, size restriction, etc. will save time and frustration. Some states, national parks, etc. require up-to-date shot records. In the case of severe weather, make sure your emergency plan includes provisions for your pet. Proper ID and a registered microchip can help reunite you with your dog if you get separated.
WOOF, it’s HOT outside
Overheating is the primary concern during the summer, and heatstroke (hyperthermia) can occur when a dog’s temperature reaches 104°F or above. Heatstroke can be fatal and dogs are particularly vulnerable, but heatstroke is preventable if caught and treated in time.
Symptoms of heatstroke can include uncontrollable panting, foaming at the mouth, rapid heart rate, vomiting, and lethargy or uncoordinated movements. Never leave your dog in the car even in slightly warm weather or for short periods of time. If you’re going somewhere and you can’t take your dog inside with you, it’s probably best to leave FiFi or Fido at home.
Causes of heatstroke can include confined space, no ventilation, no water, high humidity, no shade, stress, age (the very young and the elderly) and physical conditioning (heart/lung problems, obesity, poor grooming, short muzzles [(bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese, Boston terriers)].
Schedule walks or outdoor play in the early mornings or evening. When outdoors, alternate play with periods of rest and make sure to include access to cool water at all times. As a rule, dogs should not be outside unsupervised for any extended period of time, regardless of the weather.
If your dog is overheating, cool him off slowly. Rapid changes in body temperature can cause shock (which can also be fatal). Suggestions for cooling off outside include ice cubes in water bowls, “pupsicles,” shallow “kiddy” pools (small dogs or puppies must be supervised and water needs to be changed regularly), or a shady spot with circulating airflow. A wet towel over the back or under the legs can help as well. Air conditioned spaces and tiled floors provide cooling indoor options.
Don’t forget! Hot pavement can burn paw pads; if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet. Walk your dog where there’s grass or wait until its cooler (morning or evening hours when the sun goes down are best).
Shortening long hair can help keep your dog cool, but shaving your dog might cause more problems. Regular grooming will remove loose fur that can contribute to overheating. The layers of a pet’s coat can help protect him from sunburn. Dogs with short coats, lighter colored hair, and lighter skin are more prone to sunburn. Consider pet-safe sunscreen for ears and nose. Before using any sunscreen product, talk to your vet!
Itchy Allergies and Pesky Pests
Bug bites and grass allergies are well-known irritants that cause itchiness and hot spots, and the summer heat can make things worse for your dog. If your dog is itchy, has bare/bald spots, flaky/scaly skin or has sores that won’t heal, schedule a visit with the vet.
Keeping your dog up-to-date on preventatives is crucial since flying insects, worms, ticks and fleas can be more of a problem during the summertime months. Some dogs can have an allergic reaction to flea bites – one bite can cause extreme scratching. Be sure you know how to check for ticks and remove them safely.
Stayin’ Cool by the Pool
Never leave your dog unattended near a pool or other open bodies of water. Make sure your dog can swim before taking him on a boat; consider a canine life jacket for extra protection. Some dogs can swim for extended distances but become too tired to return; a brightly colored canine life vest will help spot him in the water. . Even strong swimmers can have accidents.
Salt water is especially harmful and can cause vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea. Bring extra water and a travel bowl anytime you’re away from home with your dog. Pond water, puddles, rivers, lakes and streams can all contain toxins and parasites. Tap water or bottled water is best.
A summertime hazard making news is WATER INTOXICATION. From the article, “Water intoxication, resulting in hyponatremia, is a relatively rare but potentially fatal condition that is most commonly seen in dogs that love to play in the water. “
Click here for the whole article and to read more about what to look out for: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/10/28/water-intoxification.aspx