Now that summer has arrived, you’ll want to enjoy the outdoors with your dog as much as possible. But, after the harsh winter weather and the quality time you and your pet have spent on the couch these past months, you may need to acclimate your dog (and yourself) to the active lifestyle of summer.
Before you and your pet dive into all the fun that summer has to offer, keep in mind these summer pet safety tips on exercise, warm weather, visiting the lake, and dealing with pests. Not only will your pet thank you for it, but it may save you a bundle in vet bills, too.
After the relative quiet of winter, it’s likely that your pet has packed on a few pounds and isn’t feeling as limber as he or she should. This means that your pet is more susceptible to injury and will not be physically prepared for any activity that is too strenuous or requires endurance.
Now that the weather is irresistible, gradually ease your dog back into exercise by taking walks and playing in the yard or dog park on a regular basis. Injuries can occur in your dog if you increase his or her exercise regimen too quickly. After all, you wouldn’t jump up off the couch after months of not exercising and run a race without sustaining some injuries, and neither will your pet.
Warm Weather Precautions
Hot weather means the added risk of dehydration and hyperthermia (heat stroke) for pets. And now that your dog will be spending more time outdoors, you’ll need to make sure he or she always has access to drinking water, both indoors and outdoors. Likewise, never take your dog on an outing without bringing along clean drinking water. Whether you’re on a run or at the lake, your pet will need plenty of clean water to keep going.
You’ll also want to make sure that your pet has access to plenty of shade, or other well-ventilated shelter. Remember, dogs don’t sweat, and need water and shade to keep cool, no matter where they are.
Visiting the Lake
When you decide it’s warm enough to visit the lake, consider the following to ensure that your dog has a safe and enjoyable day at the beach:
- Most public beaches that allow dogs require that pets be on a leash at all times and have his or her ID tags on the collar. You wouldn’t want your pet disturbing other families or getting into scuffles with other dogs, so a nice short, heavy-duty leash (probably around 6 feet in length) will allow your dog to have a good time yet stay restrained.
- If your dog can be off-leash, please be in control of your animal at all times, and be aware that not all dogs and dog owners are comfortable with your dog running free. If you see a dog on-leash, respect the message that is being sent about that particular pet, and try to keep your dog away from that animal.
- Always supervise your dog and never leave him or her unattended. Furthermore, if your dog is not a great swimmer but enjoys the water, be sure to get a doggy lifejacket that will help your pet have fun in the water without risking an accident or injury.
- Although cooling off in the water will keep your pet from getting over-heated in the hot weather, it is always important to have access to water and shade where your dog can take breaks and regain his or her energy.
- Having an obedient dog is an ongoing process, so continue using commands like sit, stay, come, and heel even while at the lake to ensure your dog remains well-behaved and still has an enjoyable experience.
- Whether you’re visiting a pet-friendly pool or the lake, it is important to observe all exits available to your dog and find the easiest exit from the water for him to utilize.
Summer brings all sorts of pests, including ticks, fleas and heartworm-infected mosquitos. Please be sure that your pet is current on a monthly, vet-approved parasite preventative. The consequences of infection can be both heartbreaking and expensive.
If you have any other questions about your pet’s summertime fun, or how you can keep your pet safe and healthy this summer, please give us a call. And if you’re concerned that your older pet isn’t enjoying summer as much as he or she should be, please call us. There’s a lot we can do to help senior pets get the most out of summer, and you don’t want your pet to miss out on the fun.