Well, it’s official. This week marks the halfway point of summer. As you enjoy the last weeks of summer, I’d like to remind you that July and August are the hottest months. The reason I mention this is that this time is known as the “dog days of summer.” I’ve never understood this given that it is too hot for dogs so it seems a bad coin of phrase. Anyway, I’d like to offer some tips for pet owners:
*Pets should NOT be left outdoors this time of year unless you have some kind of well-ventilated doghouse/kennel that is in the shade and a big bowl of water (that is refilled several times of day). Pets, like people, require more hydration during hot weather. Remember what may be okay for young dogs may not be acceptable for puppies and older dogs so bring them inside when it gets really hot or they may suffer a heat stroke. Also, certain “short snout” breeds, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Persian cats, are more susceptible because they can’t pant as effectively. Signs that your dog (or cat) is overheated include:
WEAKNESS (TROUBLE GETTING UP OR WOBBLY WHEN MOVING AROUND)
DISORIENTED (IF SEEMS TO BE IN A STUPOR)
If your pet is suffering from any of these symptoms, you need to lower their body temperature by placing them in cool water or placing towels soaked in cold water over them (especially to the hairless areas of their body) and get them to the vet immediately.
*NEVER leave your pet inside a vehicle during hot summer months. Even with partially-open windows, this can cause death within a few minutes.
*Don’t try to take your dog everywhere you go on vacation. Leave him inside the air-conditioned condo while you’re out for the day. Or take him on short outings but leave him behind when you’re gone for an extended period of time. I know it is tempting to let them go. My dog has the best “guilt” eyes but I know it will be better for him if we come back after our day trip or time on the beach and instead take him with us on a short ride up the street to get ice cream after dinner. Short walks are okay in the middle of the day if your dog is in good health, but long walks should be done in the mornings and evenings when it is not so hot.
*Be careful taking dogs to the beach. Having an Old English Sheepdog, I have never dared take him to the beach. I know that I will never wash all the sand out of his massively furry coat. So many people take their dogs to the beach but then they don’t rinse the dogs off afterwards. When was the last time you went to the beach and didn’t go back to the hotel and take a shower to wash all the sand off? Never, right?! We love the beach but once we leave the beach we don’t like sand all over us and neither do our dogs if we bothered to ask! So don’t take your dog to the beach if you don’t want to (or can’t) rinse the sand off him/her afterwards. FYI: Dogs can get sunburned just like people so be careful of sun exposure. If you have a long-haired breed, such as an Old English Sheepdog, it is a good idea to keep their coats cut short in the summer months.
*Last but not least is pest control. Along with summer comes ants, flies, and mosquitoes. For pets, mosquitoes and ticks can be deadly. And no one wants fleas…
WOOF! Woof! (That’s dog speak for “Happy Summer!”)