Summer in the Midwest is a wonderful time to be outside with your pets. Many of us spend our days at the lake, park, cabin, or just out in the backyard. Having our pets with us make this time of year even more enjoyable.
The most obvious concern for pets during the summer is the heat. It is very easy for an animal to get overheated. Dogs don’t always know when to take it easy and may retrieve that tennis ball until they collapse. Make sure your dogs rest and give them access to fresh, clean drinking water during any outdoor activity. If you stop playing for a moment and the dog lays down on its own, then it is time for a break.
NEVER leave your pets in your car during the summer. Not only is it illegal, it is also very dangerous for your pets. Even with the windows down on what seems like a cooler day, it doesn’t take long for the heat to turn your car into a furnace. When you leave a pet in the car they have no way to escape. Don’t take any chances with your furry friends, NEVER leave them in the car.
One way to beat the heat with your pets is to go swimming. Swimming is great exercise for dogs; it works their muscles without weight bearing. There are some precautions to take when swimming with our dogs though. Before heading out to the lake make sure pets are allowed. If you are swimming on a populated lake or river beware of boats. Dogs are not very visible on the water and a passing boat driver may not see them. If you are playing in the river be aware of the undertow. It can quickly sweep an unsuspecting dog under water and down the river.
Boating with dogs can also be a very enjoyable activity, but requires some safety precautions. Just like people, dogs should wear a life jacket while on a boat. Life jackets for your dog are available at our clinic. Life jackets provide your dog with a lifesaving flotation devices, make them more visible on the water, and many also come with handles on the top so you can pull your dog out of the water if necessary. These jackets are also helpful for dogs learning to swim, or dogs that swim for extended periods of time.
When you are driving your boat it is important to keep your dog securely inside the boat. If you have to take a quick turn or the dog gets excited and tries to jump out you run the risk of serious injury.
A dog that spends a lot of time in the water is at risk for ear infections. Always use a drying ear rinse after swimming and bathing. If used properly, these products can prevent most ear infections.
Dirty lake or river water can also cause a dog’s skin to become irritated. A quick fix for this problem is to rinse your dog off with the hose or in the tub with clean water after swimming. If your dog spends a lot of time in the water we recommend bathing. Use a shampoo made specifically for dogs as human shampoo can be irritating.
All pets should be put on a parasite preventative, and a flea and tick preventative. In the Midwest our canine and feline friends come in contact with lots of nasty things like heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, fleas, ticks, and ear mites. Even if they don’t spend a lot of time outdoors they are at risk.
Summer is a wonderful season to spend time outdoors with your pets. With the proper planning and prevention you can ensure that your time will be fun and safe for both you and your furry friends.