Chances are your pooch loves spending time outdoors in the summer. But as much fun as it is for him to frolic in the warm weather, there are potential dangers to look out for. Below we talk about three common summer hazards for dogs and how you can easily easily prevent them.
1. Ticks: Ticks are nasty little bugs, but they can often carry many microorganisms that could harm your pooch once they latch on to his skin. They are usually plentiful in tall grass and areas with heavy vegetation. Whenever you play with or let your dog outdoors, it can be impossible to prevent him from wandering into tall grass. So make it a habit to check your dog every day for ticks. Even if he hasn’t been outside all day, still check him. You could have missed a tick during yesterday’s inspection. Thoroughly look through all of his fur by running your fingers along his coat. Then inspect the inside and outside of his ears. Don’t forget in and around his eyes. Ticks love burrowing then latching onto these areas. For even more protection, use a tick shampoo during baths along with a tick spray. You can also invest in a flea and tick collar.
If you happen to find a tick, pull it out by its head with tweezers. Don’t just pull the body; it could rip and the head will be left in your dog’s skin, which could cause an infection. Pull slowly so you remove all of the tick at once. Place the tick in a container of alcohol to kill it, then rub disinfectant on the bitten area. Be sure to monitor how your dog behaves after you’ve found and removed a tick. If he seems sick, take him to the vet immediately.
2. Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is serious and can be fatal for your dog if not treated immediately and properly. So if you’re playing with your dog outdoors in the summer, always make sure you have enough water for him to stay hydrated. Carry a portable water dish with you whenever you go on an outing with your pooch. Periodically give your dog some water to lap up. How often you give your dog water depends on how hot and humid it is outdoors, and the type of activity your dog was engaging in. For instance, if you are going to play a leisurely game of fetch in the park for a half hour in the morning, one water break is probably fine. But if you’re doing a half-hour jog in the afternoon, plan on at least three or four water breaks for your dog. Take plenty of breaks in the shade so he can cool off too. Better yet, limit outdoor activities for your pet to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler. Also, pay attention to your pooch’s behavior while he’s active in the heat. If it seems like he’s really struggling, take him indoors immediately and give him plenty of water.
3. People food: Summer typically means loads of outdoor cooking. Fight the urge to toss your pooch a few morsels when he’s outdoors with you. It seems harmless, but there’s a reason why dogs are supposed to eat dog food and not human food. Sure, your pooch will gladly inhale the scraps you offer him, but it could make him vomit or give him diarrhea. This is especially true with dairy products. Petplace.com cautions that dogs don’t have the enzymes necessary to digest dairy products, which can make them sick. Avoid this headache completely, and stick to only dog food and treats. Also, feed your dog before you cook. If he’s full, he’s more likely to leave you alone. But some dogs don’t let a full stomach deter them from stealing a few bits of table food. If your dog constantly begs for food while you grill, contain him in a separate area or keep him inside until you’re finished cooking and eating.
Keep these hazards in mind as you and your pooch enjoy the rest of the summer. Sure, it’s a hassle to inspect your dog every day for ticks, carry a container of water and listen to his constant whining every time you barbecue. But it’s for the overall health of your dog. Follow these simple tips and your pooch will have a safer summer.