Summer is in full swing. Warmer temps and extra daylight hours can only mean one thing: more activity time for you and your pup! Whether you live on the coast, in the mountains, or somewhere in the Midwest, there are loads of things to do with your dog during these months of the Scorpion skies. But there are also some precautions to take as well – summer can bring a few dangers. That’s no reason to lock yourself and your pooch indoors, though! As long as you are armed with enough knowledge to be prepared, there is no reason that this shouldn’t be the most fun summer ever.
1) Dog walks through parks and neighborhoods This one is easy enough. You have more daylight, so therefore just open the door and go!
What to be careful of: Obviously, if you live in a typical city, there will be leash laws. Obey them! Your dog does not get a special pass just for being your best friend. Also, don’t be the neighbor who forgets to take dog-poop bags. I don’t think I own a single backpack or purse that doesn’t have a roll of poop bags in it. Even if your dog did his duty a few hours earlier, the excitement of a walk might just get things moving again.
2) Off-leash trails and hikes These can be unbelievably fun for your dog. The chance to explore new places and sniff new and exciting smells will make this one of your dog’s best days ever.
What to be careful of: Check out if a permit is needed for a place like this. Also, if it is a trail without a fenced-in boundary, make sure before you leave that your dog has consistently strong recall. You do not need to spend your day looking for your dog’s whereabouts. In any case, it’s always good to make sure that your dog is chipped and is wearing ID tags, just in case.
3) Swimming spots – If you have a water dog, taking your dog for a dip will ensure your place in his history as World’s Greatest Human. Some dogs love the chance to actually swim while others just want to wade. The chance to cool off in some water is not limited to people.
What to be careful of: if your dog isn’t a swimmer, then there is no need to push. Water might be scary, and there is no reason to create anxiety if he’s not into it. If going to a river, stay away from areas with sharp rocks and sudden strong currents. If going to the ocean, make sure the beach allows dogs, and then learn of areas with under currents. (If your dog is already a strong swimmer, he will be safer than you in the ocean!) Always rinse your dog after a saltwater dip as well. Lakes and creeks are favorite spots but parasites can lurk – if there is serious vomiting or diarrhea afterwards, take the pup to the vet. Generally your biggest issue will be having to deal with a wet dog, so don’t forget a towel. And when in doubt, nothing beats a wading pool in the back yard.
Don't forget that on your way home, use your DogSheetz to protect your car seats from the water on your pup!
In general: Summer is a time for the bugs, so a good flea and tick treatment may be necessary, if you haven’t applied one already. Even if you have used one, give your pup a good check for ticks if he has been running around in an area known for them. (Give yourself a good check as well.)
Always take water for your dog when going out for a hike, no matter what the temperature. Collapsible or soft water bowls are lightweight and easy to carry.
Finally, know the signs of canine heat stroke:
-Bright red tongue and pale gums
-Rapid heart rate
-Drooling thick saliva
If these signs occur, cool the dog down with water and shade. If signs worsen, then get the dog to an emergency vet immediately.
Your dog wants to have just as much fun as you do this summer. There is no reason to not have a great time, as long as you are prepared. Take pictures, explore new spots, and make wonderful memories! In the end, nothing can beat summer fun with your best friend.