Summer can be one of the best times for you and your dog. You can run, play, swim, and generally enjoy the great outdoors with your dog. However, summer is also a hazardous time for your dog, so you should keep in mind the dangers that go hand-in-hand with the season, and take measures to prevent them.
1. Protect Your Dog Against Sunburn
Dogs can get sunburned just as people can. Dogs that have thin coats or are light-colored are especially vulnerable, and the discomfort from sunburn is no different for a dog than it is for a person. Dogs will itch and peel just as you will if you get too much sun. So, to forestall sunburn, use a sunscreen on your dog. You can get sunscreens that are specially formulated for pets, or you can use a baby sunscreen. Cover the nose, tips of the ears, and the skin on the back and around the mouth.
2. Avoid Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is also just as common in dogs as it is in humans, and it occurs when the body temperature gets too high. You should never, ever leave your dog unattended in a vehicle – it can take just minutes for your dog’s body temperature to reach the killing range. Just cracking a window is not enough – if you love your dog, leave him home on hot days. Also avoid strenuous exercise in the heat, and if your dog is outside, make sure he has access to shade.
3. Prevent Dehydration
Your dog should always have access to cool, fresh water, but this is even more important during the summer months. In hot weather, your dog will also enjoy having ice cubes to lick.
4. Avoid Hot Surfaces
Allowing your dog to walk on hot surfaces can burn his foot pads. Ideally, walk early in the morning or after dark when surfaces are cool. To tell if a surface is too hot for your dog, place your hand on the surface for about 30 seconds – if you are uncomfortable, it is too hot for your dog.
If you do make a mistake, or if your dog gets out and comes home with burned pads, you can use a healing balm like Dog Healing Balm for Paws and Snout from Particular Paws. It contains Aloe Vera, coconut oil, cocoa butter and tea tree oil to sooth and cool hot paws instantly. It ordinarily retails for $39.99, but you can buy it on Amazon for $24.95. It works to heal not just overheated paws, but also works as an anti-itch and anti-fungal preparation, so it is a good addition to any dog first aid kit. It is also non-greasy, and will not hurt your dog if he decides to lick it. It also comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, so if you are unhappy with it for any reason, just return it to Particular Paws for a full refund.
5. Protect Against Parasites
There always has to be a down side, right? You love summer, and so does your dog, but with the warm temperatures and sunshine come fleas, mosquitos, ticks, flies, and other annoyances. You can protect your dog using flea and tick collars, shampoos, sprays, dips and other products.
6. Be Careful Around Fireworks
Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July, and the fireworks that go along with it? Dogs, that’s who. Dogs can become very frightened by fireworks, and could run off and get lost. Ideally, you will keep your dog inside during fireworks displays. If you are at a campground or other location where confining your dog indoors is not possible, at least make sure that you have him secured on a short leash.
7. Exercise Caution Around Barbecues and Campfires
These are two summer pleasures that could be very dangerous for your dog. If he grabs a burning stick from a fire pit, there is great potential for injury. Dogs may also try to jump up on a barbecue grill, attracted by the smell of food. Keep in mind, too, that the lighter fluid you use to start the barbecue is highly poisonous, and should never be left within your dog’s reach. As is the case with fireworks, if you are unable to keep your dog away from these hazards, then a short leash will be your best friend.
8. Be Alert to Allergies
Dogs can be prone to allergies just the same as human, and they will respond to allergens in the same way – with itching, scratching, sneezing and coughing. If you suspect that your dog has allergies, ask your vet about antihistamines or other medications.
9. Protect Against Chemicals in Water
Everyone loves a dip in the pool on a hot day, and dogs are no exception. However, chlorine can be very irritating to the skin, and can also upset your dog’s stomach if he ingests it. Make sure that you rinse your dog with fresh water after he has been in the pool. Also make sure that he has plenty of fresh water to drink – if he is getting his drinking water from puddles, he could be consuming antifreeze or other very harmful chemicals.
10. Make Sure Your Dog Doesn’t Get Lost
If you travel during the summer, you should keep a very close eye on your dog if he is off leash. Often, unfamiliar surroundings can be confusing (or enticing) to dogs, and there is a greater chance of him wandering off and becoming lost than if he were at home. Make sure that his collar has a tag with your name and phone number engraved on it. Keep in mind, though, that dogs can often easily slip their collars, so you might want to consider having him microchipped.
The Final Word
You want to enjoy the summer months, and so does your dog. You don’t have to put him in a bubble, but make sure that you are alert to possible dangers and take precautions to avoid or minimize them. You do not want to have what should be the most pleasurable time of the year turn into a source of heartache.