Summer can be fun for both you and your dog. With a little awareness and a few simple precautions, dog owners can prevent many of the problems that arise with hot summer weather and keep their dogs safe and healthy.
Beat the Heat
Remember that a parked car can become dangerously hot in only a few minutes. Dogs are not efficient at cooling themselves. Panting and drinking water helps to cool them, but if they have only overheated air to breathe in a parked car, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes.
Your light-colored dog’s coat can invite damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, leading to
sunburn and possible skin cancer. If your dog is light-colored and/or he lacks black pigment around the eyes, ears and nose, keep him out of the bright sun. Ask your veterinarian about sun block for your dog, preferably in a formula he can’t lick off.
Do not dehydrate your pup by exercising it in the heat of the day. Save the run or long walk for early morning or late evening when it is cooler. Bring plenty of water with you and give him a drink whenever you take one. Be aware, too, that hot pavement can burn your dog’s paws. So if the pavement feels warm or hot to your hand, your dog will not like it. Dogs should always have access to cool shade and fresh cool water in the summer heat.
Fear of Thunderstorms
Dogs can sense fear or discomfort from people, so it is important you develop a calm attitude toward storms. Let your dog stay close, and try to distract him with play. Do not try to comfort him in a sympathetic voice; this will sound like praise and may increase his nervousness and confusion.
Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes. Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
Provide your dog with a safe place to be during storms. Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog always feels safe and secure. If a storm is brewing, lead your dog to his special place to help him feel calm and protected.
Bug bites/ Bee stings
Mosquitoes, fleas, bees and wasps are just some of the summer pests. Dogs that are overly curious in a bee or wasp nest are likely to receive a painful reminder on the head or snout of why these critters should be left alone. Mosquitoes can spread disease, just like in humans.
Reactions to insect bites can range from simple itchy, red marks to swelling and even allergic reactions, leading to anaphylaxis. If your dog is having an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting, please seek emergency veterinary care immediately.
If your dog gets stung by a bee or wasp, try to locate the stinger and carefully remove it. Be careful to not squeeze the stinger, as this may release toxins into the wound area. If your dog is not having an allergic reaction to the bite or sting, treat the area. Sometimes a cold compress applied to the injured area helps with the immediate pain. If your dog is bothered by the bite and itches the area an antihistamine may be in order. Please call your veterinarian for the correct dosage for your dog.
If your dog has been stung in the mouth, this can cause dangerous swelling and affect his breathing. If this does happen, please seek emergency veterinary care immediately.
By planning ahead and taking precautions, you and you dog will have a summer of fun!
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery county and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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