Keeping dogs healthy during the summer

Dogs are wonderful additions to a family and are often treated as well as human family members. They become your best friend, companion, or even your furry child. Learning how to care for these beloved pets, especially during the summer’s heat, is imperative to their good health and to lowering your veterinary bills.

Keep your dogs hydrated. Dogs can easily become dehydrated during the warm weather and it will happen more quickly depending on the thickness of their fur. Keep the water bowl in a visible place, such as the kitchen, so every family member will remember to check its fullness during the course of the day. If you are out walking, pack a cold water bottle just for your dog and stop often to encourage your dog to drink.

Limit exercise. Every vet will encourage dog owners to take dogs for a walk to encourage good health, strengthen their bones, and help keep their nails trimmed, but use common sense during the summer. Shorten the length of your walk or break up a long walk into two shorter sessions.

Be aware of the outside temperature and humidity. Do not forget that your beloved Fido is walking with a fur dog cooler coat and will overheat easily. Walking in the early morning or late evening hours, when the sun is low in the sky, will often help keep dogs cooler.

Walk close to your house so if you sense your dog is having problems you can turn around or call for help. Hiking paths and paved trails are wonderful resources but you will be stuck if your dog collapses in the middle of a trail that doesn’t allow cars.

Take your dog’s age and overall health into consideration when planning activities outdoors. Older dogs will tire and dehydrate more easily than younger dogs and these changes can appear without warning. Dogs can also develop seasonal allergies which can in turn affect their breathing ability, so keep a close watch on older dogs that seem to pant excessively.

Check for ticks daily. Ticks are very small insects that often carry Lyme’s Disease and other tick borne illnesses. These microscopic insects are prevalent during the warm weather months in wooded areas or yards with tall grass and if they come in contact with your pet, they will bite the animal and make their way into your home. Obviously, ticks are more difficult to find on dogs with thick fur so really dig your fingers in to feel them and remove them carefully with tweezers.

Do not leave any dogs in a locked car. Even with open windows, cars can heat to well over 100 degrees very quickly, which can cause severe trouble for any pet.

Using your common sense with your dog during the summer will eliminate emergency visits to the vet and will eliminate any stress your dog may feel, making for a much happier family life.