The weather in central Indiana has been extremely hot and humid this past week. Given the extreme temperatures, it is a good time to remind all pet owners to take precautions and dish out some tips to keep pets cool and comfortable this summer.
If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses can trap in heat and do not provide safe shelter in the summer. Many people will fill a child’s wading pool with fresh water to help keep their dog cool.
The temperature in a vehicle can reach 150 degrees in less than 15 minutes. It is best to leave your pet at home while you are out running errands.
Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water for your pet during the day.
Take walks in the early mornings or evenings. Avoid outdoor training or exercise when the weather is warmest (between 11-4). Make sure to check the heat of pavement, concrete or sand before walking. It can trap in heat and burn your dog’s paw pads quickly.
Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Shihtzus, Pugs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, especially since dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months (visiting relatives, going to the lake or the park and playing at the dog park).
Keep dogs off of lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers. Watch for flags in the yard and watch what your neighbors put on their lawns so you can help protect your pets.
Fleas and ticks are pests, and mosquitos, which carry heartworm disease, are more prevalent in warmer months. Make sure to brush out and check your pet for fleas and ticks daily and also make sure you are on a current flea and heartworm preventative plan.
Sunscreen is important for you as well as your pets. Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog’s exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
Until you know your dog can swim, purchase a life vest for you dog to make sure they are safe in the water. Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before trying to make him swim.
If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown. Never leave your dog unattended near a pool and if you own a pool, make sure to keep the gate locked or pool covered so dogs cannot come in overnight.
When traveling with your pet whether by air or car, be careful of the temperatures. Not all airlines will ship pets in the summer. Make sure to pack ice packs, cooling blankets and plenty of water to keep your pet hydrated.
When giving your pet a snack outdoors in the summer, ice cubes are a great treat. You can flavor them with chicken or beef bouillon or use chicken and beef as a great treat. Premier used to make a wonderful summer treat for pets called Kool Dogz (the product is discontinued but you may be abe to find one on clearance or on ebay. They are great treats for your pets.
Above all else, have fun and enjoy the summer months with your pets. Let us know what you and your pet do for fun in the sun.