By Kenneth Barilari
Summer is here! That means days at the beach and nights of fireworks. Sometimes, the summer heat and beautiful firework displays can put our furry friends in a stressful situation. So, #HipNJ is here with Dr. Arbach, veterinarian at Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital, to provide you with a list of ways to keep your dog safe this summer!
1. Don’t leave your dog in an unattended vehicle.
Even with the windows open, cars get dangerously hot on summer days.
Vet says: “Please never leave your dog alone in a car in the warmer months! Even if every window is open an excited dog can overheat easily.”
2. Avoid hot surfaces.
If the asphalt is too hot for you to walk on, it probably is too hot for your dog too. Dog’s paws are more sensitive than you think.
Vet says: “The summer pavement can get very hot. Dogs can get blisters on their pads from very hot surfaces. Some dogs just don’t know when to stop until they are bleeding.”
3. When outside, make sure your dog has access to shade.
Always be sure your dog has somewhere to go that is out of direct sunlight.
Vet says: “If you notice your dog excessively panting and tongue hanging low, offer cool water and get to shade.”
4. Avoid giving your dog certain foods at barbecues.
It is good to include your dog in the fun, but be sure to watch what they eat!
Vet says: “Every food at a picnic can potentially harm a dog. Watch out with chocolate, raisins, onions, grapes, and artificial sweeteners. These ingredients can be deadly if enough is ingested by your dog.”
5. Take walks during the cooler hours of the day.
Walking your dog early mornings and evenings lowers risk of overheating and still gives your pets the exercise they need!
Vet says: “It takes time to acclimate to temperature changes, so those first hot days of late spring and early summer are especially dangerous. Try taking your dog out in the early morning or evening to avoid problems.”
6. Find out if your dog can swim, and get a life vest if not.
Gradually introduce your dog to water. If they can swim, be sure to watch them at all times, just like you would watch a child!
Vet says: “If you are not sure if your dog is a good swimmer take baby steps introducing them to shallow water first. Never force or punish a dog when introducing something new – this only creates anxiety which makes things worse.”
7. Get an “Anxiety Vest” for fireworks. (if your dog gets scared)
An “Anxiety Vest” applies gentle, constant pressure, similar
to swaddling an infant. This will help calm your dog when they hear constant loud noises, like fireworks.
Vet says: “Introducing your puppy to gradual increases in noise helps them get used to noise later in life. If they do experience a noise phobia allow them a safe place to hide, use a “thunder shirt” as a kind of hug.”
8. Always have fresh water on hand.
Dogs get thirsty, just like us. You don’t want your pal getting dehydrated.
Vet says: “Never wait to see if your dog is getting dehydrated to intervene. Always have access to water inside and regular offerings of cool water when outside. I always have a collapsible water bowl that I can fill with water when I am out on a hike with my dog.”
9. Sunscreen is for your dog too!
We aren’t the only ones who benefit from the use of sunscreen.
Vet says: “I recommend sunscreen for dogs that have a coat that does not protect their skin from the sun. Many veterinary dermatologists recommend dry on contact sunscreens that are labeled for babies.”
10. Watch for heavy breathing.
Monitor your dog during the hot months. Watch their breathing and do not hesitate to take action if you notice anything unusual.
Vet says: “If you notice your dog excessively panting and tongue hanging low offer cool water, get to shade or air-conditioning, wet down your dog, or get to the nearest veterinary hospital for evaluation.”
We hope these tips help you and your doggy have a safe and happy summer. Stay cool, stay hydrated, and be a good buddy to your buddy.