One of the things I’ve found over the past couple of years is that pet wellness and human wellness isn’t really all that different. Pets now suffer from many of the same lifestyle-based diseases as us, including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and more.
That also goes for summer-time dangers. Many of the things from which we need to protect our children–heat stroke, allergies, water dangers, insects–are the very things we should protect our pets from.
Julie Winton, a writer and mother-of-two, wrote this guest post. By the way, she wants everyone to know what, when not busy raising her kids, she’s badgering her husband for a dog.
Here are some guidelines for helping your pet through summer:
- Talking about Temperature
Heat stroke is one of the leading causes of canine death in the USA during summer months, and the temperature in your car can rocket very quickly even when parked up in a shaded area. Dogs cannot sweat from anywhere but the pads of their feet, so overheating can become a problem from which your pet may never recover.
Walk your dog first thing in the morning or in the evening–and never leave it–even for a few minutes. . Heat stroke isn’t entirely preventable, but by watching for symptoms and reacting quickly you could prevent a disaster during the hottest months of the year.
- All about Allergies
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from hay fever. In early summer, pollen and spores can cause dogs to suffer discomfort although this tends to take the form of itching rather than watery eyes and sneezing. Regular grooming, oatmeal shampoo in cool water and avoiding heavily wooded areas should alleviate the majority of the symptoms but, in some cases, your vet may choose to prescribe antihistamines or steroid-based medication to further aid the healing process.
- Vacation Precautions
A lot of families will choose to vacation in a place which will benefit the whole family, including members with four legs! This is great for socializing a young dog so long as you remember you are not in your home environment, and as such need to put paperwork in order before leaving.
One of the major factors in vacationing with your dog is remembering that your local vet is unlikely to be reachable in the event of an emergency – as such, researching local practices and noting the number and address of a few is advisable. Ensuring that your pet insurance will cover you away from home is also essential, especially if your pet has a pre-existing condition which could require urgent attention during your vacation. Should your trip consist of any strenuous activity, keeping in mind the above tips about temperature awareness is the first step, while owners of brachycephalic – or short faced – dogs should keep an eye out for signs of over-exertion. A new environment is exciting and can cause your dog to run around for much longer than they would in a familiar setting.
If you have an exuberant breed like a Labrador or Dalmatian, chances are they leap into lakes and rivers before you can blink! While this is an excellent form of exercise and can help keep them cool on hot days, caution should always be exercised around deep water. If possible, you should teach your dog to swim in a body of water you know well, and encourage them to join you by playing with a tennis ball – this is best in a backyard pool or using a child’s pool for smaller breeds. Never throw a dog into the water, as this could scare them off the idea for life!
After your swim, carefully rinse your dog off using fresh, clean water. This is because pool water contains chlorine, which can dry out sensitive skin and cause a stomach upset if ingested during routine cleaning.
As President of the California Veterinary Medical Association, Dr Dean Henricks, points out that, “We find more injuries with dogs during the summer months as more dogs are in the back of pickup trucks and fall out, and in the wild they get bitten by rattlesnakes.”
By remaining vigilant and preparing for all situations, whether this is a walk or a vacation, you can keep your dog safe this summer.
Irene Ross also works with humans–as an integrative nutrition and holistic wellness coach. She helps people alter unhealthy habits with her easy, 7-step system–so they can balance their lives and ignite that spark that everyone has.
Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story, and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is: www.irenefross.com.