The glorious warm weather is time to get outdoors and have fun with your pets. However, outdoor activities can be detrimental to your pets’ health and welfare if you’re not aware of these common summertime hazards.
Exercise in the Heat of the Day
While it’s fun to get out and walk, run or bike with your dog, be sure to do so when the temperatures are moderate. If your small dog has to run while you walk and it’s hot, your dog can overheat. Also, your dog is walking ‘barefoot’ and is closer to the pavement which can make it much hotter for your dog than for you.
Brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds can have a hard time getting air, and breathing can be harder in hot humid weather. If you have a pug or bulldog type dog, be sure to get out in the early morning or late evening to avoid heatstroke or breathing problems.
Dog parks can be fun for you and your dog, but be aware that with all the stimulation of canine friends, your pup may overdo the running and playing in the hot summer sun. Watch your dog carefully and bring her into the shade to drink and cool off before she gets too hot and risks heatstroke. Dogs who love to retrieve or play Frisbee will keep running – risking heatstroke – so be sure to moderate their activity.
You may be tempted to run errands on your way home with your pet, but don’t leave your dog in the car when it’s hot. The heat in a car – even with the windows cracked can reach lethal temperatures in a very short time. If your dog is already hot from playing, heatstroke can occur quickly. Take your best friend home to rest before stopping at the store.
Boating and Water Sports
Some dogs love the water and will gladly go boating with you. Sporting breeds can be strong swimmers, but just like with you, the water poses hazards. When you take your dog on your boat, be sure to provide a life jacket or PFD appropriate for your dog’s size.
Take time to train your dog to stay in the boat, so he doesn’t jump off after wildlife. Depending on your location, your dog may be tempted to chase poisonous snakes or predatory wildlife – which could be disastrous for your pet. Giving your dog a designated space will decrease the likelihood of your dog getting underfoot or tangled in fishing lines.
River and ocean currents can pose special dangers to your pet, so be ready to help him out when swimming in these waters. This is when the flotation device can be a lifesaver because there’s usually a handle on the back of the PFD to grab and haul your pet to safety.
Insects, Snakes and Wildlife
When you’re out hiking the wilderness or taking a walk in the woods, you should be aware of the dangers lurking there. Besides the obvious insects: mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks there can be venomous snakes that are potentially hazardous to your dog’s health.
Wildlife usually run away when humans and dogs approach. But they might stand their ground if defending young, and they can hurt your dog. Depending where you’re enjoying the great outdoors, you could have a run-in with coyotes, wolves, lion, deer, elk and moose. Because skunks and porcupines can’t move too fast, they have defense mechanisms to deter attack that can cause your dog pain. If you have a small dog, keep him close to you as eagles have been known to attack small dogs.
More dogs are lost during the Fourth of July celebrations than any other time of year. If your dog or cat is reactive to the noise and lights of this festive time, be sure to create a safe haven in your home where your pets will not be bothered. Because the sensitivity can come on suddenly, be aware if your pet is bothered by thunder and lightning before she runs away in panic.
When you do take them out, be sure to keep them on a leash if there’s any chance they might bolt in fear. When you have a Hale Pet Door, you can securely lock them in the house with the security cover, so there’s no chance of losing them while you’re out celebrating our nation’s birthday.