Imagine itís a scorching 90 degrees with humidity pushing 100, and youíre slogging around wearing a (banish the thought) fur coat. Itís just insane, right? Now, consider dogs. They might shed more in summer months or be given a buzz cut for comfort, but they canít remove their fur coats as the temperature rises. Itís up to you to keep your dog safe and healthy, so weíve gathered some common sense tips to help.
1. Liquid Assets. Prevent dangerous dehydration by keeping fresh water accessible for your pets at home and when you go out. Add some ice cubes if itís super-steamy.
2. Car Sick. Never leave animals alone in your car, even for a quick errand. In hot weather the temperature inside a closed vehicle can rise to 120 degrees within minutes. Opening a window might seem smart, but it can prove risky as well. Remember, dogs can be amazing escape artists. We also advise against tying your pooch to a pole outside while you run into Starbucks for a Frappuccino. He can easily and quickly be swiped. If pets arenít allowed where youíre going, itís better to leave them at home.
3. Time Out. If you let your dog roam unsupervised in a fenced yard, keep track of time. Make sure sheís out alone for only a short time, preferably in the early morning or evening. If you donít have shady trees, prop up a beach umbrella so thereís a cooling-off spot for Fido. Also, place a bowl of water outside.
4. See Spot Run. Many dogs were born to run, but they donít always know when to stop, and a summer jog can be deceptively dangerous for your four-legged companion. Dogs donít sweat like people. Their sweat glands are in their feet, so heavy panting and drooling is a sure sign of overexertion. Be sure to take water breaks and take it easy when itís particularly hot, especially when youíre riding a bicycle and your dog is running alongside and cannot easily stop when he tires. The best times to exercise for both you and your furry partner are early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense. Before your first pavement pounding of the season, visit the vet. Remember, animals age quicker than humans, so Spotís former abilities may have changed since last year.
5. Street Scene. Monitor your dogís feet and avoid searing hot pavement or sand. Be cautious of broken glass that doesnít affect your shoed feet, but can hurt soft paws.
6. Head In. While itís cute to see your dogís ears flapping in the wind as he breathes in the rushing air from your car window, itís not a safe practice. Keep all ears, noses, paws, and any other body parts in the car when youíre driving. Stray objects, as well as dirt, could injure your pet.
7. Stop the Itch. Youíve seen the ads: Cats and dogs scratching up a storm. Now, take the advice. No matter which product you prefer, make sure your pet is protected from fleas, ticks, and Lyme disease.
8. Worm Warning. Spread by mosquitoes, heartworm can be deadly. Itís most prevalent in the Midwest and Southeast, but occurs throughout the United States. Chat with your vet about the best prevention for your dog and visit†HeartWormSociety.org for more information.
8. Off Limits. Try to keep curious canines and cats from chewing on plants and newly fertilized grass. Fertilizer kills weeds, so itís no surprise that itís dangerous to pets (not to mention humans).
9. Lost or Found. Finally, keep tabs on your loved ones. While youíre soaking up the sun on your lawn or tending your garden, you might not notice if your dog or cat sneaks away from the homestead. Make sure they always have identification tags or a microchip.
By Barbara Cooke, for TAILS