Dogs enjoy the warmth of the great outdoors in the summer, splashing in a pool or lake, and being exercised, active and happy. However, there are dangers in the summertime that you and your dog should be aware of as you romp around and play!
- Poisonous Ingestibles . This is the time of year when you might be planting flowers, plants and fertilizing your lawn. However, there are poisonous plants, flowers and mulch ... for a list of toxic plants, click here . Also store weed killers, antifreeze, pesticides, charcoal and lighter fluid in an area where your dog doesn't go. Keep your dog off the lawn after any yard treatments until the chemicals have dried completely.
- Heat. If you're hot in the summer, remember that your dog is hot, afterall, many dogs have "fur coats" on. A parked car can become dangerously hot in minutes and cause your dog to suffer brain and organ damage. Remember that dogs can't perspire and only dispel heat by panting and through the pads on their feet. If you leave your dog outside all day, make sure there is some shade.
- Drink, drink, drink . Just like humans, dogs can dehydrate. Water makes up 80% of your dog's body, so it's important it be replenished. Symptoms of dehydration may include sunken eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite and dry mouth. If it gets too bad, a vet will have to administer intravenous or subcutaneous fluid. Make sure your dog has water at all times that is changed frequently to ensure freshness. Use a plastic water bowl, not a metal one that could get too hot in the sun.
- Sunburn. Believe it or not, dogs can get sunburn. If your dog is light colored and/or he lacks black pigment around the eyes, ear and nose, keep him out of the bright sun. Ask your vet about a sunblock that he can't lick off. Be aware, too, that hot pavement can burn your dog's paws. So if the pavement feels warm or hot to your hand, your dog's paws will not like it.
- Scratching at the Back Door . One of the signs of an improperly trained or bored dog is a wood door with scratches all over it. Think about scattering food around the yard, which appeases your dog's instinct to forage. You can scatter bits of raw vegetables, dog kibble and other food that won't attract wasps or mosquitoes. Try hiding a few treats so your dog spends extra time looking for them.
- Housing. You have a house and your dog may want one of his own too. Place the dog house next to your family's house and provide a blanket or comfy bedding. Choose a dog house made of naturally rot-resistant material such as plastic or red cedar, but do not use pressure treated wood, which can contain arsenic. Use rustproof, galvanized nails and screws.
If you find your dog constantly digging and chewing up your backyard, a Bark Busters behavioral therapist can help you overcome these outdoor misbehaviors!