Your pet will probably spend more time outside in the summer so here are a few ideas you could consider to help make the experience more enjoyable and safe.
- Keeping cool: The greatest danger in summer is of course a heat stroke. It can be deadly if it is not dealt with quickly. When we get hot, we sweat and give off heat to cool down. Pets do not have sweat glands, except in between their toes, so they cannot give off heat by sweating. They need to blow off heat by panting.
- Breed conformation plays an enormous role in a pet’s ability to regulate body temperature. If your dog is a brachycephalic – has a short muzzle like a Pug, their ability to breathe is already compromised, so they cannot give off as much heat as for instance a Sheltie could of similar size. Their body temperature will therefore increase much faster and they will be at a much greater risk of developing a heat stroke.
- Coat color: A thick haired black dog like a Labrador will warm up much faster than a pale colored Golden Retriever. The color black absorbs heat, pale colors reflect heat.
- Temperament: Some dogs know how to stay calm and take it easy, but many hunting dogs for instance never quit. My English Cocker Spaniel almost developed a heat stroke because when we went for a walk on a hot summer day in a field of alfalfa she kept running around nose to the ground and jumping up to see above the grass if there were any rabbits she could run after.
- Cold Water: You should always have some cold fresh water to give to your pet to drink during hot weather. Let you pet take a swim, or hose him down; nothing will cool the body down faster.
- Avoid exercise when the sun is high in the sky, early morning or evening would be better. Jogging on hot asphalt or cement is very dangerous for a barefooted dog. Not only will his feet get abraded but he will heat up quickly.
- Parked cars: Never lock your pet in a parked car even if it is parked in the shade with the windows cracked open! The car acts like an incubator and the temperature inside increases very quickly. Dr Ernie Ward, a veterinarian, posted a video on YouTube to show exactly what happens. You can view the video at this address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbOcCQ-y3OY or just go to YouTube and search for Dr E. Ward and parked car.
Bugs and the sorts:
- Pets are quite defenseless against mosquitoes, black flies and horseflies. Use repellants that are canine safe and give them heartworm preventative medication monthly.
- Cats and dogs get bitten by ticks more than we do, they have no protective clothing. Check your dog for ticks regularly and bring him to the vet if you find a tick attached to him. Analysis of the tick will tell us if there is a danger of one of the tick borne diseases like Lyme disease.