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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

12 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer

By Becky Streeter

Summer is in full swing and you and your pooch are having a blast. Dog parks, rivers, lakes and hikes! But while you are on the go together, there are some dangers you should be aware of.

  1. Avoid water with algae. Blue-green algae, among other colors, is highly toxic for dogs. If they swallow it while swimming, or even lick it off their fur, it can make them sick. Thoroughly shampoo your dog and check for a rash, trouble breathing itchy skin or vomiting. The best idea for all algae: if you can see it in the water, don’t let your dog near it.

  2. Don’t shave Fido’s fur. A dog’s fur actually keeps them cool in the summer, protecting from the sun’s UV rays and insulating against the heat. It’s like a built-in sunshirt. If your dog is looking a little too shaggy, it’s best to bring them to a groomer for a professional summer ‘do.

  3. Check for ticks. Ticks usually gravitate toward warm, dark places such as under ears and arms. Tick Twisters are your best bet for removal and can be purchased at almost any pet store or online for fairly inexpensive.

  4. Don’t let your dog walk on chemically treated lawns. Companies usually put one flag in a yard that has been sprayed, and by the time you see it, it’s often after your dog has already walked on the grass. Additionally, most people who do their own lawn spraying don’t put out indicators at all. Rinse paws or use a baby wipe to clean them after walks.

  5. Try to prevent your dog from eating fallen food from BBQ’s or picnics. Dogs can get burned by being too close to the grill or eating hot food that falls off it. Bones from meat can be a choking hazard or splinter in the digestive track if swallowed.

  6. Keep an eye on your dog in the water. Even good swimmers might go too far, get tired, and not be able to make it back. For a puppy’s first time in the water, have them wear a doggie life jacket, just in case.

  7. Treat summer allergies. Certain types of grass or grass seed, mold, dust mites and pollen can be irritating to dogs. If your dog has unusually itchy ears, eyes, paws or other areas, trouble breathing, or diarrhea, call your vet to see if medication might help. Other common allergens include feathers and cigarette smoke.

  8. Keep them cool. Dogs have a harder time regulating their body heat than humans, and can develop heat stroke much easier. On hot days, exercise them in the early mornings or evenings, and make sure they have plenty of shade. Bring a collapsible water dish and bottle of water just for your dog. Never leave a dog alone in the car, even with the windows cracked, as the temperature in the car can increase rapidly in the summer.

  9. Protect from sunburn. Noses and ears can get sunburned, as well as skin on dogs who have tinner coats. Prolonged exposure to the sun can also increase the risk of skin cancer. You can find doggie sunscreen at most pet stores or online.

  10. Watch out for hot pavement. Hot asphalt can burn paws. If you can hold your hand on the pavement for more than 7 seconds, it’s okay for your dog to walk on.

  11. Treat insect bites and stings. Dogs can be allergic to bees, wasps, ants and other stinging bugs. Watch for symptoms, and call your vet if you see hives, diarrhea or vomiting.

  12. Secure or repair window screens. If your dog gets excited about squirrels, bunnies or the Amazon delivery person, they could potentially burst through a broken or loose screen and get injured or wander away.

Source: Brahlek, Amanda. “Hidden Dangers for Dogs in Summer.” Grubbly Farms. 23 June 2022.

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