Dog Days of Summer
July 31 is the official observance of Mutt Day, which has us thinking about our canine friends this season, and how we can better ensure that these loyal creatures enjoy the happy, healthy lives they deserve. If you have a canine amigo at home, summer calls for some special awareness. These tips will help your dog enjoy summer as much as you do:
Beat the Heat
While you may not think about your furry pal becoming overheated on those fun summer outings, even healthy pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to heat, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This is an invaluable reminder, as heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Keep Fido Hydrated
If you keep fresh, cool water available for your pet 100% of the time, you’re right on track. Dogs get dehydrated quickly, but they know when they need to drink up, as long as refreshment is available. They should also have shady resting spots whenever they’re outdoors, and be allowed to take it easy during intense heat─ideally indoors. Remember, they’re wearing a fur coat in the sun, not shorts like you.
Offer a Summer Trim
Hot summer days call for a sleek hairstyle─for dogs that is. Treating your pup to a short summer ‘do helps prevent overheating. However, don’t trim closer to the skin than an inch, so your pet still has some protection from the sun. Dogs will appreciate a good daily brushing in summer more than ever, as many breeds find this comforting and refreshing.
Garden chemical usage increases in warm weather, which can spell danger for dogs. If you use insecticides, pesticides or other chemicals, please consider greener options for both pets and planet. For example, www.ecosmart.com creates effective alternatives that are safe for pets, children and the environment. At minimum, keep lawn and garden insecticides away from pets. Many products contain known carcinogens, which are bad enough for adults, but can be especially hazardous for smaller-bodied children and animals.
Offer Sun Protection
While you may not associate dogs with sunburn, it turns out that any area of the skin with a thin covering of fur can be susceptible. Dogs’ noses are especially vulnerable─as are other areas with less coverage. Short hair breeds and recently groomed dogs are also highly prone to sunburn. When your dog is exposed to strong solar rays, apply high factor, canine-appropriate sunscreen to his/her ears and nose to protect against major sun damage.
As you can see, hot weather calls for some special tactics. But needless to say, your pet is well worth it. Here’s to a happy and safe summer for you and your beloved dog.