Warm Weather Safety

18_1paper_dog_days_of_summerSpring is in the air and after a long winter, the pups are primed to get outdoors and blow off some steam. Birds are chirping, flowers and trees are blooming and the sunshine is feeling wonderful. So how do you make sure you keep your canine buddy safe this spring?

This month we focus on the following K-9 tips to keep you and your pup safe and healthy as the weather gets hotter.

Tip #1: Start your FLEA AND TICK PREVENTATIVE now. Many people stop these products during the winter months and, if you did as well, now is the time to discuss these with your vet and get started. We had a mild winter, so they’ll be bad this year!!!

Tip #2: While you are discussing flea and tick preventative with your vet, go ahead and check to make sure your pup is up to date on their VACCINATIONS AND HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVE. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitos and the Southeastern United States has the largest prevalence of heartworm disease in the country. The disease disrupts heart, liver and lung function and can be fatal. Make sure your pup is taking their preventative!

Tip #3: Springtime is time to start cleaning up the YARD AND LANDSCAPING. Keep dogs off of lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions). Selecting plants and landscaping products that are safe for dogs will go a long way in preventing toxicities from occurring. Toxic bulbs such as hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and certain lilies, as well as certain fertilizers and mulch, can be toxic as well. Store these products in an inaccessible area like a shed when not in use.

Tip #4: Let the sneezing and wheezing begin! Dogs may develop allergies to plants, pollens, fleas, and many other substances. Spring-time ALLERGIES in dogs may show up as skin problems, with dogs becoming very itchy, experiencing hair loss or inflamed skin and may even show a change in behavior due to the irritation of the allergy. However, allergies are not only a problem for our canines, but us as well! Your pup’s coat will carry pollen, dust and more outside allergens into your home. Regular grooming and bathing can help keep your pup AND your family healthy and lessen the allergies you may be suffering from.

Tip #5: Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can SUNBURN. Limit your dog’s exposure during the day and apply sun block to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside. If your dog does happen to become sunburned, 100% pure Aloe Vera gel is the best way to quickly and easily soothe your dog’s skin.

Tip 6: Most dogs enjoy SWIMMING, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before trying to make him swim. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association: 15 minutes of swimming is the equivalent of a two mile walk. Also, ocean currents and undertow can make swimming even more intense and potentially dangerous. Remember – we offer swimming lessons here as part of our playcare and lodging enrichment services.

Tip #7: Dangers from EXCESSIVE HEAT need to be avoided. Never, ever leave a dog unattended in a hot vehicle in the summer months. Heatstroke and death can occur within minutes in warm temperatures. Also, asphalt gets very hot – 77 degree temperatures result in 125 degree asphalt! Place the back of your hand against the pavement and hold it there for 11 seconds… if it’s uncomfortable for you to leave your skin there, then you shouldn’t make your dog do it.

Tip #8: OFF-LEASH WALKS in the woods, etc… are great. Practice your off-leash behavior in a large fenced area before unclicking the leash in the woods. It’s important to make sure your pup has a really good recall and isn’t going to run off. Also, make sure they have a proper identification tag and are microchipped. We don’t want to have to post any “lost dog” notices.

Tip #9: Most dogs love CAR RIDES and hanging their heads out the window to feel the wind on their faces. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

I hope these K-9 points help you and your pup stay safe and get the most out of this great time of year. As always, K-9 Coach is here to help you with any of your dog needs. Whether through training, playcare, lodging or grooming, we are always striving to help you develop a lifetime of positive memories with your pup(s).

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K-9 Coach