As I look out my window at about a foot of snow, it’s hard to believe that it’s spring, and summer is right around the corner. As much as it doesn’t feel like it right now, warmer weather is in our future, and there’s no time like the present to remind ourselves that while the nicer weather brings more opportunities to get out with our pets–and possibly lose a couple of those pounds that both us and our pooches may have accumulated over the winter–warmer temperatures also bring some challenges and opportunities to keep our dogs safe, happy and healthy.
Warm weather can be dangerous for our pets. Number one, never leave a pet in a hot car. It just takes minutes for temperatures to get dangerously hot, leading to heat stroke and suffocation. If you’re traveling with your pet, pack water and a water dish, and take your dog with you when you leave the car. Better still, leave your dog at home when it’s hot. He or she will appreciate a nice air-conditioned home, just as much as you do!
Unfortunately, the warm weather also brings with it fleas, ticks and mosquitoes which can carry devastating diseases, like heartworm, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain fever, and much more. Make sure your dog is protected from these bug-borne diseases, many of which can be dangerous for you too. Ask your veterinarian about proper protection.
While the warm rays of the sun feel good after months of cold weather, hot surfaces can be dangerous for your pup. Watch out for hot sidewalks and roads, as well as metal surfaces, like the bed of a truck. These hot surfaces can not only burn tender paws, they can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating.
Make sure your dog has plenty of water and shade during the warmer months. You may even want to get your dog his or her very own “kiddy pool’—or in your pooch’s case a “puppy pool!” Dogs love the water and getting wet will help keep them cool.
But if you take your dog to the beach, don’t assume he or she is a good swimmer. Dogs instinctively know how to swim, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily good swimmers. And if your dog jumps into a swimming pool, make sure he or she can easily get out. Just like children, dogs shouldn’t be able to get into a pool or a body of water without adult supervision!
Dogs can get sunburned, especially those with short or light-colored coats. Sunburn can be painful, and overexposure could eventually lead to skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your dog—don’t assume the human variety is appropriate for your pet.
A good rule of thumb is to simply pay attention to your pooch. If your dog seems uncomfortable, remove him or her from the source of discomfort. With a little attention to detail you and your furry friend can safely enjoy the beautiful weather and warmer temperatures which seems to come and go around here just a little too quickly. Enjoy!