Enjoy dog days of summer, and keep pooches safe

Abby Bird


Enjoy dog days of summer, and keep pooches safe

Boy, it's hot!

This weather can be particularly hard on dogs. Not just keeping them out of the sun, but the thunder and heavy rainstorms also present problems.

Some of this info is just plain common sense, but we don't always think about it. When we go outside, we choose the proper attire for ourselves, but a dog's attire never changes.

We bring supplies for ourselves, but we need to think about the dog's needs as well.

What does that mean? It definitely depends where the dog is going. Here are some things your dog might need.

Beach or lake: Lots of fresh water and container, sunscreen for nose, water-resistant long line or other off-leash equipment, water toys, shade cover for when at rest with you, towels, Benadryl spray for bites, Neosporin ointment for cuts. Possibly Doggles, depending on the dog.

Don't let dogs play obsessively without a timeout. If they like water, the ocean will cool them down. If your dog swims or can be on a boat, don't forget a life jacket.

When you leave the beach, hose down the pooch with fresh water and check his paws for any cuts or burrs. When you get home, bathe him and continue checking for burrs and sand fleas.

Mountains or hiking: If the terrain is rough, your dog can wear booties similar to that of search and rescue dogs. They will protect dogs' feet from anything sharp or even areas that might be slick due to dampness.

Other items include a cooling bandana, insect repellent containing citronella (spray on dog before heading out), a first aid kit containing bandages, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl (both oral pills and spray) for bites, self-stick Vet wrap, gauze pads, cleaning cloths such as those soaked in hydrogen peroxide or alcohol.

Take water and food, of course. Plan on keeping the dog near you on a short leash since exploring in these places can be very dangerous so you don't want the dog out of your sight at all.

Anywhere you might go where your dog might burn his paw pads is something to consider. Even for bike riding, jogging or walking on hot pavement, consider booties. Also consider going out with your dog early in the morning or late in the evening while it is still light but the sun is not so strong.

Have all vaccines updated before you travel. Always have your vet records, including rabies shot record, and plenty of food if leaving the home area. Calming medication is a must if your dog is afraid of thunder, strange places and car riding.

I like to travel with Imodium in case of doggie diarrhea. If possible, use bottled water while travelling, since a change in water might cause intestinal distress.

If your dog ends up limping, coated aspirin will help until you can see your vet. Take any monthly medications along, since you might not be able to get them readily if you are traveling.

Have a fun summer and keep everyone safe.

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. ajbird@hargray.com