Sunday, May 13, 2012

Summer Safety

I love summer! I love the warmth of the sun....the opportunity to be outdoors more...and I know my dogs love it too! They are true sun worshipers! They just can get enough of those rays and beams!

One thing that is a no-brainer is, it can get very warm in the summer, hot in fact.  This can not only pose a health danger for humans but for our dogs too.  For humans, the average body temperature is 98.6 degrees (F), but for our furry companions, it's 101.3 degrees (F).  That's quite a difference.  That means they're most likely to feel the effects of the heat before we do.  If you take your dog with you in your car, and leave them there while you do an errand on an 80 degree (F) day, even in the shade, within a half hour, the temperature can rise over 20 degrees (F)! That's over 100 degrees (F)! Just think if you were parked in full sun! There was a post on my Face Book page with the picture of a dog inside an open oven door that states, 'Hot oven, hot car...same thing.'  Please don't leave your pets in your car on a hot day...this can prove fatal.  Even with the window cracked, it can be deadly in a short time, especially for smaller breads.  And in some states this could be considered abuse, neglect or endangerment and carry a misdemeanor charge.

Water.  It is of utmost importance that you provide clean water for your pet's access at any time in hot weather, whether they are inside or out.  Our bodies adapt to external temperatures, so in hot weather, even mostly indoor dogs will drink more's just a normal thing.  I drink a lot more water in the warmer months.  Please, do not let your dog(s) drink from puddles either.  It's not a safe practice.  You don't know what might be in this water.  There could be run off from lawns that have been sprayed with chemicals, or farming ground that's been sprayed with pesticides.  These are harmful substances that can cause cancer in dogs.  I used filtered water for my dogs.  If you have a dog fighting cancer of any kind, you should be purchasing 'purified' water at the store.  I do not suggest allowing your dog to drink from the community water bowls at dog parks either.  Bring your own water for your dog.  There are many carry with containers that are small enough to strap to a belt loop that you can bring with you.

If you keep your dog outdoors more in the summer, make sure the surrounding environment is safe for them.  Provide a place where they can be in the shade, and I hope you have an enclosed area to protect them from 'outside' dangers.  I hate it when I see a dog on a tie-out with no one outside to keep an eye on the dog.  Any other stray dog could come up and get in a fight with your dog...this could be a potentially bad situation.  Perhaps I'm over-protective of my little ones....I realize their size makes them very vulnerable to a lot of I keep an eye on them.  And they even have a 6 ft. wood privacy fence around their back yard!

Summer is also a time where we tend to be on the go, and we probably include our dogs in more of our activities.  Keep an eye on your dog and watch for signs that they might be overexerting themselves.  Especially overweight dogs and older dogs.  Dogs pant when they get hot.  They do not sweat like us humans, so this is their way of cooling off.  If your dog begins panting excessively...get to some shade and offer a drink of water.  Wait until the episode is over to begin activity again.  Realize you may need to take several breaks.

Summer is a lot of fun...and it's a pleasure to include our pets along on our adventures.  For me, safety is a top priority...perhaps more so because I have a multi-dog household, and small dogs.  I keep an eye out for possible issues...I want everybody to be safe.  I hope you will consider the above information and that you and your canine companion(s) have a fun, safe summer!

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