By Haley Velasco
Web Content Contributor
Summer is here and its finally time to relax and let the adventures begin, and what better way is there to spend this time than with your furry friend? Although there are many activities that you and your dogs can do, it’s important to be cautious of the safety and well-being of your dogs, especially in the summertime.
The summer heat tends to rise at elevated temperatures quickly throughout the day, making it important to keep an eye out on your dog whether it’s just playing fetch in the grass or taking a walk around the block. For older aged dogs or dogs with physical restrictions, it’s best to minimize outdoor activities and prioritize keeping the dog in cool areas and in a relaxed state.
According to Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz from the American Kennel Club, walking on pavement or sidewalks in temperatures above 80 degrees places a risk of paws becoming burnt or irritated as well as health issues including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If a dog shows any signs of sickness due to the heat such as excessive panting or vomiting, immediately find shade or a cool area and/or pour cool water over the dog’s head.
For paws, the American Kennel Club suggests purchasing shoes for dogs that will help protect their padding, as well as walking in the early morning or later evening when temperatures cool down. Kimberly Alt from the Canine Journal has listed recommendations for the best shoes to buy for your dogs as well as other information to keep your dog in the best condition in the intense heat. If you’re still unsure whether the ground is cool enough for your dog’s paws, it’s best to place the back of your hand on the pavement or sidewalk for five seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog!
Swimming is a great source of relaxation and exercise and provides the chance to cool down on a hot summer day. For dogs, it may be a scary experience and is not always encouraged. A rule I like to follow with my own dogs is that if they aren’t comfortable doing certain activities (such as swimming), then it’s an activity that they will not be doing.
If your dog is comfortable with swimming, Top Dog Health explains the benefits of swimming for dogs, including it being a reliable form of exercise and a stress reliever for both the physical and mental state of your dog. Regarding safety, the American Kennel Club has suggested what to keep in mind when choosing a safety vest for your dog along with some reviews on good safety vests for your dog.
Food: Dos and Don’ts
Summer is the time when we can enjoy a large assortment of foods, whether it’s fruits, BBQ meat, desserts and so much more, but some foods aren’t safe to share with your dogs. The ASPCA has listed the main common foods that aren’t safe for dogs such as alcoholic beverages, citrus fruits, grapes, dairy, uncooked meat or anything with seasonings like garlic or salt. Although many of these foods will not cause an immediate and intense risk to your dog, it’s best to avoid them to avoid an upset digestive system which could lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Although there is a good number of foods that aren’t safe for your furry friends, there are plenty of foods that you can give to your dogs. The ASPCA has also listed foods that are safe for your pet including fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, pumpkin, kiwi, pineapple and strawberries along with other foods such as popcorn, cheese and of course, peanut butter (as long as it doesn’t include xylitol).
If you’re interested in going above and beyond for your dog this summer, The Dog People has provided a couple of simple recipes that consist of mainly fruits such as strawberries and blueberries as well as peanut butter to make your dog extra happy this summer.
If your dog is showing symptoms of animal poisoning (vomiting or diarrhea), contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or contact your veterinarian.
Leaving for Vacation
When leaving for vacation, it’s important to have a plan for what you’ll be doing with your dog while you’re away. There are many options whether it’s sending your dog to boarding facilities, choosing a family member or close friend to pet sit or looking for a trusted individual to pet sit.
If you choose to send your dog to a boarding facility, the Citizen Canine provides helpful tips on what to consider when choosing a facility. They suggest visiting the facility yourself and getting to know the staff as well. Knowing about health requirements and special services that the facility may offer will be beneficial when making a decision.
Another thing to consider when choosing a boarding facility is to look at any reviews, whether it’s on Facebook, Google or Yelp. Asking a local community Facebook page for recommendations or opinions on a boarding facility you may be considering could be very helpful in getting honest and effective feedback.
For pet sitting, it’s important to find a trusted individual that fits the schedule that your dog will need, whether it’s being available 24/7 or just being available enough to refill the food and water bowl at the end of the day. Whatever your dog needs, it’s best to create a list for the pet sitter, especially if they’re required to tend to them all throughout the day. Make sure this list includes how often to feed them, how often they use the bathroom, how long walks or playtime should be and of course, where the treats are.
Looking for something to do over the summer? Volunteer at a local shelter! There are many local animal shelters in Austin and San Marcos that could always use a helping hand to volunteer or even foster and adopt. With all these resourceful tips, you’ll be a pro in the dog parent world in no time!
Featured Image by Haley Velasco.
Written by: ktsw admin