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Summer Safety for Dogs

Summers here in the desert can be brutal for dogs, Here are 10 important things to remember as you and your dog prepare for the summer heat:

1. Never leave your dog in the car on a hot day
Temperatures in cars can rise quickly, so make sure to take your dog with
you when you get out of the car, here in the desert we have a lot of dog
friendly businesses. Never leave your dog in the car if temperatures are 70
degrees and higher. If you must leave your dog in the car and the
temperature is ok, be sure to leave the windows down enough to allow the
air to circulate but not too low that the dog can jump out of the car. Do not
leave dogs in the back of a truck. The back of a truck can get hot real quick
unless there is a shade source. Here in the desert there are very few
days we could leave our pets in the car.

2. Provide plenty of shade
Whether at the beach, a park or even in your backyard by the pool, make
sure that your dog has access to shade at all times, allowing him to stay out
of the sun’s harsh rays. Dogs can get overheated and some can get
sunburned, just like humans, especially white dogs and hairless dogs, so
apply sunscreen (baby formula is recommended) for fair haired or pink
complected dogs. Dogs with pink noses should have sunscreen on regularly.

3. Bring extra water
Bring a bowl and plenty of water to keep your dog well hydrated while away from home. Bring double the amount that you think you may need to ensure that your dog has continual access to fresh water to cool off.

4. Limit time on hot concrete and asphalt
Hot concrete and asphalt can easily burn a dog’s paws. Touch the ground
with your hand or bare foot to check if pavement is too hot for your dog to
walk on. Limit the time spent on both surfaces and spend more time on
grass and cool sand. Be sure to look at your dog’s paws to check for
discoloration, cuts, and bruises. Watch your dog's behavior if your pet is
dancing around most likely the dogs paws are burning. Another option is to
teach your dog to wear protective footwear, which is a good idea if your dog
is too big to carry here in the desert.

5. Pool safety
If you have a Pool, teach your dog to swim just in case the dog accidently
falls in the pool. The more familiar the dog is with swimming the less likely
the chance of the dog drowning due to the mind panicking. There is also
great pool safety supplies like the Scamper Ramp, alarms worn on the dog's
body if it goes in the water the alarm will sound to a remote speaker in the
house, and for the certain breeds that have a harder time swimming like
bulldogs or most flat nosed breeds they have doggie life jackets. The alarms
you can buy at any pool supply store, the Scamper Ramp you may have to
get online as well as the life jackets, not many pet supply stores carry such

6. Leave pets at home for firework displays
If you’re headed out to watch the fireworks display it’s best to leave your
dog at home. The loud noises mixed with the nighttime away from home
can cause your dog to become disorientated and loud noises can scare a dog
so bad it flees without any thought. I feel it is best to not leave your dog
unattended until you know how your dog will react with the noise. If you
must leave then keep a T.V. or radio on louder than usual to try and drown
out the noise, you can have lavender essential oils in a scentsy wax warmer,
lavender is a calming scent. Don’t give your dog access to the outside unless
you go with them. A scared dog will scale a wall or fit through gates and
take off running. If your dog gets really stressed stay home with it and talk
to your vet regarding medications that will help keep your dog calmer.

7. Know the signs of heat stress
The signs of heat stress in dogs include excessive panting or difficulty
breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness,
stumbling, or even collapse. If your dog is experiencing any of these
symptoms, head to the shade, grab cold water, and apply cool, wet towels to
the dog's chest and abdomen to the dog to cool the dog off. Call your vet for
added safety. If your dog is a flat nosed breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs,
Pekingese call your Vet immediately! It is harder for these breeds to cool
their bodies down through panting. Check your dog’s gums for paleness, if
your dog has pale gums get your dog to the vet immediately.

8. Exercising
Here in the desert it is best to exercise your dog in the early mornings. This
is the coolest time of the day in the summer months. Evenings are ok after
the sun goes down. Make sure you check the pavement, remember the
summer sun has been baking that pavement all day, so it takes a little time
for the pavement to cool down. Always stay aware because these are also
the times of day coyotes will be out and about as well. Keep little dogs on a
short leash, retractable leashes are unsafe for many reasons but most
importantly here in the desert the farther away from your physical body the
more likely a coyote may go after your dog. Swimming your dog can do any
time a day.

9. Flea, tick and Mosquito safety
Fleas and other bugs are more prevalent in the summer months and can
carry diseases and cause your dog to get sick. Some animals are allergic to
flea bites, one bite can cause a itchy burning rash that can get infected.
Fortunately here in the desert there isn't a big flea problem, however if
you're traveling outside the desert you want to use a vet recommended
product like advantix 2 which is a flea, tick & mosquito repellant, you also
may want to talk to your vet about heartworm preventative.

10. Summer Diet
During the summer months your dogs tend to slow down due to the heat
and because they are less active, some dogs are less interested in eating.
Don’t be concerned unless there are other signs of a sickness like vomiting
and or Diarrhea. Offer the food and if your dog shows no interest put the
food away and offer the food again at the next scheduled meal. Some of my
dogs eat only once a day during the summer months. Most dogs self
regulate, while others will eat any time any where.

Valerie Masi
Best Paw Forward