Warm Weather Safety

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Summer is just around the corner and even here in the usually cooler Pacific Northwest, we’re seeing temperatures climbing into the eighties. What does that mean? Time for the annual reminder of warm weather safety with your dogs.

Summer safety is important

First and foremost, don’t leave your dog in the car when it is warm out. I know, you were just running into the store for a minute, but that is no excuse. The inside of a car gets very hot, very fast, even with the windows cracked. (And don’t be an idiot if you come across a dog in a car on a hot day. I have seen dogs with some incredible AC systems in their car kennels, so make sure a dog is actually in need of assistance before you rush to the rescue and break someone’s window.)

Don’t quit training during summer months, but keep your sessions short. Train your dog during hours when it is cooler, such as early mornings or later evenings. This goes for walks, too. If you have a working dog, or have to have your dog out during the warmer parts of the day, acclimate your dog to it. If he spends all morning in a nice air conditioned house, then goes out into an 85* day, it is going to be hard on his system.

Make sure your dog always has clean, cool water available. This goes for you and your dog. Hydrate! 

If you’re outside, make sure there is a shady spot he can rest.

Avoid hot surfaces, such as asphalt, that can burn your pet’s paws. Remember the basic rule that if the ground is too hot for the back of your hand, it is too hot for your dog’s paws. 

Keep your dog well groomed and brush out dead excess hair, but don’t shave a dog that should keep its coat. That does more harm than good. 

Finally know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in both your dog and people. I have seen handlers paying so much attention to their dog’s needs they ignore their own signs of distress.

A few other precautions as the temperatures get warmer:

If you take your dogs swimming, know their limitations. Pay attention when your dog is in the water, even at a pool. If they get tired or nervous, they may forget how to get out. Be aware of water conditions and hazards if you are at a lake or river. Never let them drink unclean water or chlorinated pool water. 

Summer brings out the bugs that can cause serious problems for your pup, so stay up to date with your flea and tick preventatives as well as heartworm protection. There is almost no area in the US where heartworm cases are not on the rise.

So, take appropriate precautions both with the heat and the ongoing COVID pandemic, and get out there and do something with your dog.

Happy summer!

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