Here are some things to keep in mind this summer to help keep your dog and cat healthy and happy:
- Fireworks aren’t limited to Independence Day celebrations. Keep access to the outdoors limited during fireworks displays on the bays, at the ballpark, and elsewhere.
- In SoCal outdoor grilling and dining is common, and raiding the BBQ is awfully tempting, even for a well-mannered dog. Keep pets out of reach of unattended hot grills. You may want to use a tie-out leash for or keep them indoors while grilling.
- Kabob skewers, cooked rib bones, corn cobs, grilled chicken bones, and desserts are mighty tasty, but they can be dangerous to the dog who eats them.
- Take your dog for his walk early in the morning and late afternoon, especially during those humid August days. The beach can be deceptively hot during midday hours.
- Limit periods of exercise, including playtime in the pool or beach, to 20 or 30 minutes periods with cooling rest breaks in between. Pay attention to how much water your dog is drinking. Extreme water consumption can lead to water intoxication (hyponatremia).
- If your dog loves open water swimming, boating, paddling, or just dock jumping consider Ruffwear's K-9 Float Coat life jacket.
- Think twice before bringing your dog along for errands. Shady parking spots are rare, and open windows provide inadequate cooling.
- Watch out for hot pavement and sand. If you're traveling this summer, consider booties for walks. Not only is the pavement hot, but rest areas are a prime location for thorny weeds.
- Always provide plenty of fresh, cool drinking water. The Water Rover is a combo water bottle and bowl, or water bottles plus the Olly Dog Travel Bowl or Ruffwear Quencher, are all convenient ways to bring along water. Even slender, younger dogs and cats with longer noses can overheat easily. Most dogs start to get warm in 80°F weather. Older, out-of-shape, and/or chubby dogs have less resilience to the heat. Consider getting your dog a Ruffwear Swamp Cooler — it really is a personal swamp cooler for your dog!
- If you take your dog along to picnics, soccer games, etc., keep extra water just for cooling him down. Only wet down his tummy, groin, and "armpits." Watering his back can trap heat and make him hotter.
- Provide a cool shady rest area. A small beach umbrella can easily provide shade for your pooch.
- Know the signs of heatstroke:
- rapid breathing
- thick excessive saliva
- red gums
- If your dog or cat shows signs of heatstroke, drape him with cool, wet towels and get him to the vet immediately! Even if he appears to recover he still needs to see a vet, as deadly effects of overheating can appear days later.
- Resist the urge to shave your dog's fur. It's designed to keep him cool in the heat and warm in the winter. Instead, brush him more frequently to keep his fur clean and remove old hair. Clean fur cools more efficiently. If you're trying to keep your house neater, combine daily brushing with weekly bathing. Your dog will stay cooler, your house cleaner, and with his coat intact you'll reduce the chance of doggie sunburn!
- Before adding new plants to your yard, check out the ASPCA to find plants that are safe for dogs and cats. Use alternative treatments to control pests and weeds. Beneficial nematodes and diatomaceous earth both work great on grubs, fleas, and other nuisance bugs. From boiling water to vinegar there are several low-cost and safe methods to control weeds beside pulling them. You can a beautiful, pet-safe, eco-friendly garden.
It’s summertime so get out, have fun, but be safe!