Dog Safety For the Summer Heat
Unfortunately, summer is winding down. Although you still have a full month to make the summer of 2014 unforgettable, FlipFlop Dogs is here to remind you how to keep your dog safe in the last frenzy of summer vacations and last minute activities.
While our first Summer Dog Safety post was focused on dog safety at the beach, this time around, we’re focusing on things that happen at home. Whether you are squeezing in your beach trip over Labor Day or hanging out at home (lounging on beach chairs like Charlie), please remember how dangerous summer can be for your furry loved one.
Heating Up: Everyone has seen the posts on the dangers of leaving your dog in a parked car during the summer. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Leave your dog at home, with the air condition on, where they are safe from the dreaded heat in the middle of the day. Fans are not enough when it comes to cooling down a dog, as they are different than how humans cool off. Especially when you will be gone for hours (or the whole day), air condition is definitely the safer bet in knowing your dog will not be overheated. Adding a few ice cubes to their water bowl will ensure the water stays cooler longer too.
Screen First: If the temperature is cool enough to open the windows and doors, always have a screen (without any rips or holes) in. Screens will prevent dogs from being able to jump out the window or running out the door. This may sound silly, but if your dog sees a squirrel and the window is big enough, they may try and jump out to get it. Screens also prevent any bugs/insects from getting in to bite your family members/dog.
Staying Up-to-Date: The summer brings out animals and insects, which means that it is especially important for your dog to have their vaccinations up-to-date, including rabies. Rabies are most often found in bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks, as well as, other wild animals. Rabies can be deadly as soon as symptoms start to occur, but can be full prevented by having the vaccine. If your dog is not vaccinated, keep them inside as much as possible and walk them on a leash when you do go outside. For extra preventative measures in keeping strange animals wondering your yard, do not feed your dog outside and keep your trash closed so animals are not able to dig through it. Dogs are also prone to mosquito, bee and wasp bites. If you see that your pup has been bitten, remove the stinger and notice if they develop an allergic reaction. Be prepared to take your dog to the vet if they swell up in the area or if you notice other allergic symptoms. Lastly, as we approach fall (gasp!), we have to watch for ticks and fleas. Check with your vet to get any needed vaccinations before going on a trail hike.
Keeping the Hair Long: While this may seem counter intuitive, keeping your dogs hair long actually helps to keep them cool during the summer. Your dog’s coat is adapted to regulate them during all seasons. During the summer, their coat prevents them from overheating and from getting sunburnt. Do not shave their hair, but you can trim it, if needed. If your dog’s hair is already thin and light colored, apply baby or dog sunscreen to the exposed areas while they are in the sun. With any type of coat, brushing and cleaning the hair is especially important in the summer to keep their circulation healthy and rid them of the shedding hair. Rather than keeping them in their wool sweater, brushing takes off the unwanted hair and puts them in a light “summery” t-shirt.
Enthusiastic Swimmers Only: Spending your last summer weekend at the beach or by the pool? Be mindful that some dogs, but not all dogs, like to swim. Let your dog warm up to the idea of swimming by starting in shallow water or by using a ramp. Call them into the water, but never force them in. Once your dog is in the water, keep a watchful eye on them and notice when they start to get tired. Swimming is a great exercise and perfect to cool off during the summer, but using all their muscles and keeping their head afloat can tire them out quickly. We also recommend using a doggy life preserver until your dog gets a hang of the “doggy paddle”. Never throw your dog in to the water, as it could scare them, injure them or worse. If you are planning a day by the water, always have a shaded area where your dog can lay so they do not overheat or become too exposed to the sun. They don’t need to be tan!
With these summer dog safety tips in mind, enjoy the last full month of your summer and have fun outside with your pup. Try not to play outside in the heat of the day, but summer is the time to enjoy the great outdoors before it gets cold again. Now we want to hear from you….What was the best activity you and your pup did together this summer? Comment below!