5 Summer Safety Tips

It’s summertime & with it comes a lot of fun in the sun! As much as it warms our hearts to see them enjoying the outdoors, it’s important to know that the warm weather can sometimes be harsh for them & affect them differently than humans.  Here are 5 summer safety tips to help you enjoy walks, hikes, and beach days with your best friend while keeping them safe and healthy.

#1 – Access to fresh drinking water & plenty of shade

Dehydration & heat stroke in dogs is a real possibility.  Always ensure your pets have access to clean, cool water & shade whenever they go outside, even if it’s only for a little while. Also, refill their water bowls more frequently and always carry water wherever you go.

Got a picky drinker? Try getting them more water intake with frozen watermelon, ice cubes to chew on, or adding water to their kibble during hot days.

If your dog loves to sunbathe, encourage them to get into the shade every half hour to cool them down. It’s also a good idea to go out in the mornings and evenings when it’s relatively cooler.

It is critical to know the symptoms of dehydration & heat stroke. Getting them treatment as soon as possible when you see the first sign of concern can save a dogs life. Dehydrated dogs usually:

  1. – Pant heavily
  2. – Have dry gums that appear white opposed to pink
  3. – Drool excessively
  4. – Have wobbly legs
  5. – Display lethargy

If your sweet pup shows any of these symptoms, bring them into a cool area immediately, cool their body temperature, & try to get them to drink. If they refuse to drink & symptoms don’t subside in 5-mins then rush to the vet immediately.

#2 – “Just A Minute” in a car is never ok!

Did you know that in only 2 minutes the temperature inside a vehicle can jump from 80 to 120 degrees? So no, it’s not just a quick run to the store. If you have errands to run that you can’t bring Fido in with you then leave him at home. No, you can’t keep the window down and leave them. Body temperature goes into the red zone for a dog way too quickly. Dog safety is more important than that. Don’t risk his life because it may be inconvenient. Safety first!

 

 

 

#3 – Know your dogs swimming skills

Most dogs can swim. Some are natural water dogs that love to paddle around. Others do not like it, but if you drop them into some water they can safely navigate themselves to the shore without going under. However, just because a dog “can” swim does not mean that they shouldn’t be watched at all times. Treat them like your child. While you’re playing around the lakes, rivers, & beaches this summer keep in mind that a dog life vest goes a long ways in ensuring their safety. Watch them for any signs of discomfort or distress. Sometimes they lose energy quickly & lose the ability to doggy paddle. So keep them safe around the water.

#4 – Know the water levels

All over the US one of the things you have to be careful about when playing around water is Blue-Green Algae. This is actually not algae at all, but types of bacteria called cyanobacteria. They can be present in any body of water around. A common misconception is that if it is a river & the water is moving then there isn’t a concern for blue-green algae. That is not accurate. When conditions are ideal they can grow quickly throughout a body of water & can even begin forming “blooms”. Certain varieties are harmless. However, some can be harmful & even deadly to both humans & dogs. Be cautious to know the safety of water before exposing your pet to it as they will naturally drink some of the water they are around if they are playing in it. Sadly, government agencies like state Fish & Wildlife do not have the resources to monitor every body of water. However, most local newspapers & community forums keep great tabs on the algae levels. Join a local online group & keep informed of the safety of the water you’re wanting to take your Doodle to. Taking them to safe water vs unsafe water can be as simple as being informed. If you live or plan to visit an area that gets snow during the winter then those bodies of water are most susceptible to blue-green algae. Especially if the snow melted quickly that year in that area. Be informed so your dog can stay safe!

#5 – Protect their paws

The direct sun can cause any surface to warm. However, asphalt is notorious for causing harm to dog paws by walking your dog. Paws can burn, split, & even burst due to walking on too hot of pavement. If it’s comfortable for you to walk temperature wise, it doesn’t mean the pavement is safe. If you plan to walk your Doodle on a sidewalk during the summer then a safe habit to begin is to place the back of your hand (don’t use the front as it can be misleading) & hold it to the asphalt for 5-seconds. If it is too warm for you then do not walk your dog. Another option if the pavement is too hot, but you want to have the walk anyways is to teach your dog to walk in “booties”. You can buy these at most pet stores. They are great not only for hot pavement, but also in the winter months when it is rainy. Most Doodles will walk crazy the first time you put them on, but in time they will learn to use them if they are needed.

Ultimately, having fun with your Doodle & exploring the beauties of summer is a special time for any dog owner. Get out there & enjoy the summer, but being smart while you do it will keep everyone healthy & happy!

 

Robby Gilliam

Owner/Breeder/Lead Trainer

Mountain View Doodles ©