Summertime is a fun time for dogs as it is for people. Warm weather means more time spent out in the lawn romping around with pet owners and engaging in long games of “fetch.” I look forward to these months of the year when I can take my golden retriever for after dinner walks in the neighborhood and say hello to friends and their pets. The summer season also presents some dangers that pet owners need to be aware of such as heat stroke, heart worm, parasites, and environmental hazards.
Beat the Heat
The dog days of summer are capable of producing such dangers as heat stroke. A canine maintains an internal body temperature up to about 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Continuous exposure to extreme heat can raise the dog’s temperature higher than this creating a very life threatening situation of which the dog will begin excessive panting, vomiting, and possible seizures. There are steps to take to avoid this from happening to your beloved canine.
First, make sure your pat always has access to cool water whether inside the house and outside. If the dog is spending time outside on a summer day, make sure the water dish is placed in a shady location and frequently changed so it is always relatively cool. Always make sure the water bowl inside the house is completely full and drop an ice cube in the bowl on occasion to keep the water cool. The dog will stay cool in extremely hot weather by keeping them indoors with air conditioning or simply by laying on a tile floor with a little oscillating fan blowing on them. Never ever leave a dog in a car during the summer as this is the quickest way for your dog to get heat stroke.
One way to beat the heat with your dog is to have the groomer remove excess fur. Take caution not to shave the dog down but rather lighten the coat a little bit. Dogs that are shaved down are susceptible to sun burn and irritated skin.
Limit your dog’s exercise activities during the extremely hot days. If exercise is a must on that particular day, choose to walk the dog early in the morning or later in the evening. Take extra measures to keep your dog cool by providing a small pool with an inch or two of cool water. The dog will walk into the pool for a quick cool down.
Consult your local veterinarian about an annual heartworm program for your dog. Heart worm programs vary depending on the climate of your dog’s location. Medication should be taken regularly and never skipped. Our dog gets a monthly heart worm pill that is distributed early spring through the fall as we live in the north central part of the United States. Do your best to limit your dog’s exposure to mosquitoes that can carry heart worm. Limit the dog’s time outside when mosquitoes are numerous such as after a rain or extremely muggy days. Make sure to eliminate any standing water in such areas as bird baths that can inhibit the breeding of mosquitoes.
Heartworm is not the only potential parasitic nuisance for your dog. You must also protect your pet against fleas and ticks that can be found in your yard or on walking paths. Just prior to the warm summer season, consult your veterinarian about providing your dog with a flea and tick treatment. Many of these treatments are skin or coat applications to your dog that will last a few months. The treatment gets into the dog coat and skin and will repel any fleas or ticks upon contact. Ticks can be an even greater risk to your pet as some are capable of carrying Lyme disease which can be fatal to your pet.
Take extra caution with your pet when applying lawn and garden herbicides and pesticides. These chemicals are harmful not just to humans, but canines also. If you apply a chemical to your lawn, prepare to take your dog outside in a different location or a long walk to do their business. Follow the directions of the lawn chemicals with regards to pet risks and take the appropriate measures.
Summertime also has a way of creating allergic reactions to some dogs. Yes even canines can get allergies from seasonal factors as pollen, mold, and grasses. Dogs may exhibit “cold” like symptoms or even get skin reactions to such allergies. If conditions seem to change with your dog during the summer season, take the pet to the vet.