Kari Horton is a volunteer with Heartland Small Animal Rescue – a nonprofit that rescues animals scheduled for euthanasia in local shelters. To read more from Heartland, check out the rescue’s blog, Tails from the Heart.
Summer has unofficially arrived in Michiana. Dogs love summer and all the exciting things it brings, like long walks, hikes, swimming and traveling.
However, summer can pose risks to dogs. Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe during summer fun:
Just like humans, dogs can suffer in the heat. Seniors, those with health issues, puppies and short-faced dogs (such as Boxers) can be affected quickly.
If you are too hot, so is your dog.
When your dog is outside, make sure he or she has a shady spot to rest in, plenty of cool water to drink and maybe even a wading pool to cool off in. Doghouses are not good shelters in the summer because they can trap heat inside.
Never leave your dog inside the car in the summertime. Even cooler temperatures outside (70 degrees) can elevate cars’ internal temperatures to deadly levels for dogs trapped inside. Police may issue tickets to those who leave their dogs inside hot cars and can break into your car to release your dog.
Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccines and preventative treatments for heartworms, fleas and ticks. Dogs will likely have more contact with other animals while playing outside or going for walks. Fleas, ticks and mosquitos are everywhere in the summer months. They can carry heartworms and lyme disease.
Sidewalks, sand, streets and other surfaces can be very hot in the summer. Dogs’ paws are sensitive and can burn easily when they come in contact with a surface that has been baking in the sun.
Some dogs love swimming, but don’t assume your dog can swim. Some dogs simply can’t swim or dislike the water. Lifejackets for dogs are recommend on boats, just like they are for humans. A dog might be injured when falling from a boat and be unable to swim. Dogs can tire quickly – especially in the ocean’s strong tides. Keep pools covered and firmly in place so your dog doesn’t slip underneath accidentally and drown.
Dogs can sunburn too! Limit longterm exposure to the sun. Salt water is not safe for dogs to drink, so make sure to provide fresh water for your dog. Ocean conditions such as excess sea lice or jellyfish can make swimming unsafe for your dog. Rinse your dog off to help with salt and sand buildup in his or her fur when your beach fun ends.
You may be tempted to shave your dog in an attempt to keep him or her cool in the summer. This is not recommended. Dogs’ fur actually provides your dog with heat relief. It also provides protection from sunburns and skin cancer. It is okay to trim and brush your dog’s long hair, though.
A little common sense goes a long way in keeping your dog safe in summer weather. If it doesn’t seem safe for you, it likely isn’t safe for your dog! Enjoy the sun.
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