Dog’s Summer Days

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Peanut Outside

Summer can be a rough time for pets. My pug, Peanut, pants heavily from May to September, even though she is in air-conditioning for 95 percent of the day. Pinky is freaked out by thunderstorms, rain, fireworks, people swimming in the pool, birds flying past the windows, kids running around outside, and everything else that offends her delicate chihuahua sensibilities. And while summer can be great fun with your pet, there are some things to keep in mind during this sun-filled season.

Bugs are everywhere. Pinky is allergic to bee stings. We found this out the hard way when we were camping with her as a puppy. She stuck her nose in the ground and was stung by a yellow jacket. Her face began to swell later that evening, and my husband was out with her, driving the mountain roads in the dark, trying to find an animal hospital. When he couldn’t, I gave her a piece of a children’s Benadryl and called the vet when we got home. Ticks, fleas, and heartworms are also summertime problems, so be sure your pet is current with those medications.

Schedule a summer vet visit to make sure your dog is up-to-date on his shots. Since your pet will probably come into contact with other animals, especially if they spend any time outside, you’ll want to be sure all of his vaccines are current.

Keep them cool. Consider a summer haircut if your pet has a long or heavy coat. Also, keep them well-hydrated. If your pet spends time outdoors, be sure they have water outside as well as indoors. Dogs can suffer heat exhaustion quickly, especially flat-faced dogs. My dogs drink more in the summertime and I often toss a few ice cubes into their water bowl to keep it cool and refreshing. Also, even though your dog probably loves to go for a ride in the car, unless you are going someplace where they can go in with you, leave your pet at home. A hot car is no place for your dog, and in many states it is illegal to leave your pet alone in a hot car. Even with the windows cracked, the temperatures can quickly become deadly.

When walking your pet during the summer, make sure you don’t linger on the concrete. Asphalt holds the heat and can burn the delicate pads of your dog’s paws. If you tend to stand and chat with neighbors while taking your pet for a stroll, go early in the morning or in the evening. If that’s not possible, get your dog some pet shoes.

Many dogs like the water, but beware of hidden dangers. Saltwater can be very dangerous when too much is ingested, so don’t let them drink it while at the beach. Carry fresh water with you and keep your dog hydrated so they aren’t tempted to lap up large amounts of saltwater. We recently began taking our dogs boating with us (yes, a pug and a chihuahua – not exactly water-dogs) and they seem to really enjoy it. I insisted on life preservers for the dogs. Accidents do happen, and even if your dog is a strong swimmer, it’s a good idea to watch your dog around the water.

If you have a patio or courtyard garden, beware of gardening products – fertilizers and pesticides are toxic for your pets. Other dangers include pool chemicals and even some household plants.

And yes – dogs can get sunburned! Especially if you have a light-colored dog, it’s a good idea to limit their sun exposure.