Summer time! A whole season dedicated to cookouts, beach trips, baseball games, and sweet sunshine. If summer were a person, they would be the warm-hearted, bubbly, life of the party that everyone is eager to get a selfie with and make their ring toss partner. There’s no doubt about it, summer is the ultimate “fun” season! And the fun doesn’t stop with human activities; your dog can take part in the fun under the sun too! Take a look at some of our top tips to keep your pup safe and healthy this summer.
Safety in the Sun and Tips for Keeping Cool
Whether you choose to stay in the city or fly away to a tropical destination, summer weather is known to carry some scorching temperatures. While you load up on the SPF, you can also take preventive action with your dog’s sun exposure. We recommend the simple “sidewalk test” to ensure that your pet’s paws won’t be hurt on hot pavement. Place the back of your hand on a sun-exposed sidewalk for about 5 seconds. If your hand becomes too hot to hold to remain on the pavement, chances are it is too hot to walk your dog. Try an early morning or late evening walk instead of peak sun times (between 11am and 3pm).
Air Conditioning – Good ole’ AC can cheer up any overheated pup! After a long walk or a day by the pool, give Fido a break from the warm weather and let him rest in a cool, temperature controlled area.
Doggie pools – $20 on Amazon can go a long way in the efforts of cooling off your dog! If you decide to set up a personal puppy pool, we recommend a hard shell bottom as inflatable pools can be punctured by paw nails.
Pupsicles – This one might be our personal favorite, only because we love to see dogs smile! There are tons of “dog ice-cream” brands out there, but you can also make your own “pupsicles” in the freezer with water and canine friendly fruits like strawberries and bananas.
Fireworks and Thunderstorms
Along with warm summer temperatures comes celebratory fireworks and seasonal thunderstorms. While fireworks may be beautiful and the thought of a thunderstorm initiates a cozy night in, these sounds can trigger a dog’s nervous system, making them become anxious or afraid. To help relax your pet and relieve noise-related stress, try some of these helpful tips:
Safe Place – Give your pet the option to retreat to a comfortable place, such as a pet bed or comfy crate filled with their favorite blankets and toys. To make the space even more appealing, a treat-stuffed Kong and/or chew toy is a perfect distraction from scary sounds.
Classical Music – If the outside elements are a little too loud for your pet, try masking them with soothing music. Studies show that relaxing sounds, such as classical music, ease stress in our canine friends.
Thunder Garment – Snug fitting shirts or jackets can help to make thunderstorms and events featuring fireworks easier for your dog. Companies such as ThunderShirt and Storm Defender offer pressure shirts and garments that protect against static shock which can relieve your pet of anxiousness and make them feel more secure during times of stress.
Pheromones/Medication – If your dog is experiencing elevated levels of anxiety due to loud noises, it’s possible that canine pheromones (such as Adaptil) could help. A simple pheromone plug-in diffuser or room spray can help to send “calming messages” to your pet during times of increased stress. In extreme cases, your furry friend may need the assistance of anti-anxiety medication or a mild sedative. Please contact your veterinarian to discuss the possibly of prescription medications for your pet.
Flea and Tick Preventatives
Along with summer perks, come summer pests! Fleas and ticks seem to run rampant throughout the year, but tend to really bug us (see what we did there?) in the summer months. These tiny critters can cause a great deal of distress to our pets, such as skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
To ensure that your pet is protected, keep them on a trustworthy flea and tick preventative. Our number one choice for flea and tick protection is Bravecto, a delicious pork flavored chew that keeps fleas and ticks away for up to 12 weeks. In one convenient dose, Bravecto protects your dog from fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (Black-legged tick, American Dog tick and Brown Dog tick).
If warranted, you may also use a tick collar for extra protection in high-tick areas such as wooded land or open country.
We hope you have a beautiful, safe, and happy summer!
Heart of Chelsea + LES Animal Hospital