The American Pet Products Association reports that nearly 85 million households have a pet of one kind or another. That might be a dog, cat, fish, gerbil or something else entirely. Regardless of what type of pet you have, pet care is an important part of your life this summer. For those going on vacations, pet boarding service is probably something on your mind.
This is especially true for dog owners. Local pet care is an important aspect of being a dog owner. Knowing when and how to seek care is important to the health of your pup. That being said, there are probably plenty of activities you will be doing this summer where you don’t want a pet daycare. If that is the case, here are some tips for keeping you and your pup safe while having fun this summer. Brought to you by your favorite local pet care.
Any local pet care can tell you that dehydration is a real problem for dogs during the summer. Many owners forget that dogs do not have the same cooling mechanisms as humans do (sweating), and instead pant to release excessive heat. That means when it gets hot, dogs have a much higher need for water than we do. Some of the signs of dehydration are dry gums, excessive drooling, and extreme panting. While you are planning your summer activities if your dog is coming along be sure to plan for plenty of water and shade. Additionally, make sure your dog always has access to cool water and shaded areas while at home, whether that is inside or outside. Even indoor dogs can be prone to dehydration in the summer as the home heats up. If you do any running, biking, or other physical activity that requires your dog to run with you, be sure to stop in the shade frequently to allow your dog time to cool off.
A dog’s normal body temperature is slightly higher than a human’s, coming in at 100 degrees to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above 103 degrees is a danger signal for your dog. Here are some signs that your dog is overheating and might need medical attention: heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, shaky legs. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, get them to a cool place and give them access to water. Potentially place a damp towel over your dog’s body to help them cool off, however, do not place your dog in cold water. This can put them into shock.
It is heartbreaking to hear the statistics of how many dogs die each year because they were left in a hot car. Remember, that the interior temperature of a car is going to be much hotter than the temperature outside. Pets can develop a heat stroke in less than 10 minutes if left inside of a hot vehicle. Some states have already issued “hot car” laws that make it illegal to leave your dog in a hot car. However, even if it isn’t illegal, do you really want to chance coming back to your car only to see your dog dead? Of course not.
Whether you think it is cute or you think it is a solution to overheating, don’t do it. Dogs coats are designed to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Of course, you should regularly brush your dog to keep the fur from getting matted. Shaving, however, can cause your dog to overheat and can make them more prone to sunburns (yes, dogs can get sunburned too). If you want to trim your dog’s fur, leave at least a full inch of hair (if your dog is long haired) to protect the skin.
Now that you know some of the most important safety principles this summer, it is time to have some fun with your dog! Get out and go play, make some memories that both of you will remember. Have fun this summer!
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