06 June 2012

Fun in the Sun - Safe Summer Tips for Your Dog!


Summer is finally approaching and if you're like me I try as much as possible to stay out in the sun and enjoy the weather. Being outdoors makes me happy, whether is enjoying a drink at an outside cafe, having a picnic, going to the beach, or taking a bike ride through the park I just want to stay out and play!

With warmer weather approaching you probably will find that more activities are available for you and your pooch - dog beaches, run ups to the ice cream truck, long strolls in the park, dips in the lake, and did I mention top-down convertible drives? As soon as the weather gets warmer I take Bebe and Jolie EVERYWHERE!

However, you do need to remember, and trust me I know that it's hard to do so, but... dogs are not human! They have hair all over their body (my dogs have hair, most dogs have fur) and they have naturally higher temperatures. A human is considered normal at 98.6 degrees. A dog is normal at 100-101!

Here are some tips, tricks, and gadgets that I use for myself and my girls to ensure that they are safe and comfortable in the summer heat!

  1. Freeze multiple water bottles and have portable water bowls handy. Over the years I've collected plenty of travel bowls for my pooch, but if you forget you can always drive to a drive through and ask for a cup of ice! 
  2. Make sure that wherever your pooch is going he/she has a place of shade. Let him or her rest when needed. If you feel that your pooch is not active or slugging around let them rest, give them water and take the spare time on your hands to update your twitter and Facebook status with cute pics of your best friend. 
  3. Test the floor temperature! Is the floor or sand too hot? How do you know? Take your shoes off and walk on it. If it's too hot for you it's too hot for your canine. We don't want burned paws, so walk on cool ground or invest in doggie foot gear! 
  4. Outdoors means ticks and fleas. Make sure your pooch is protected. Spritz a repellant on him/her or get a flea/tick collar. Your vet can also offer you some pharmaceutical grade alternatives. 
  5. Invest in a kiddie pool. Let's say your hosting a BBQ and everyone is outside, let your pooch have a kiddie pool option to jump in and cool off. 
  6. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave your dog in the car unattended. I don't care if the window is cracked. I don't care if the sunroof is open. On a hot day the temperature inside of a car reaches well over a hundred. Pair that with the dogs already 100+ degree temperature and leather seats and that is not a good thing. Don't do it. 
  7. Dogs get sunburned too! Don't let your dog stay out in the sun too long. If he/she has short hair they are likely to get sunburned. Spritz some organic sunscreen on your pooch and again have shade and water nearby! 
In the case of a heatstroke please follow the below guidelines and signs provided by the AKC


Heatstroke

Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog's prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog is overcome.

Early Stages:
  • Heavy panting.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Bright red gums and tongue.
  • Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.
Advanced Stages:
  • White or blue gums.
  • Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
  • Uncontrollable urination or defecation.
  • Labored, noisy breathing.
  • Shock.
If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down:
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
  • Apply ice packs to the groin area.
  • Hose down with water.
  • Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
  • Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.
Check your dog's temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog's temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process.

If you cannot get the dog cooled down and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.

Taking these necessary steps and precautions will ensure for a fun day with your pet! Now go out, get active, and have fun in the sun!


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