Staying Safe in the Summer

Visiting my cousins in Connecticut with my trusty water bottle that doubles into a bowl!

Visiting my cousins Chloe and Sophia in Connecticut with my trusty water bottle that doubles as a bowl!

Summer is here! As the weather gets warmer I notice that my routine changes. I take my long walks in the early morning and after dinner and my owner carries my water bottle with her whether we walk into town or go in the car. In the summer I don’t need to wear a coat unless it is raining. I love it because I am outside so much more than when it is cold. In summer the scorching pavement sometimes makes my paws hurt and I don’t like that one bit. Thinking of my hot paws made me think I should share some advice about being safe in the summertime with my readers.

Summer is a time for fun but there are some things that we need to be careful about. I know that I need to drink more water.  Unlike people, dogs don’t sweat and can’t regulate their body temperature,  so they are at great risk to get very sick from the heat. And like walking on hot pavement, walking on hot sand can cause painful burns to pets’ footpads.

Once a month my owner gives me an extra little treat with my dinner. That treat is actually medicine to prevent heartworm disease. Mosquitoes spread the disease and they are around a lot in the summer.  My owner checks me for ticks each time we come in from the outside and I get monthly treatment for them too, but not just in the summer.

I ride in the car more in the summer time, and whenever we travel, I either ride in my crate or a harness type seatbelt. I love to go in the car but not all dogs do. Car travel can be very stressful for some animals so if your pet is an inexperienced traveler, short ‘practice’ trips will help to get them used to a longer trip. Don’t let your pet eat too much before you leave on a trip. Some pets might have an upset stomach and they might vomit.

I’ve never flown in a plane, but if I do, I am small enough to travel in the cabin. Unless a dog can travel in the cabin, it’s not a good idea to travel by plane during the summer. Larger dogs are placed in the cargo hold where the temperatures are not well regulated which can lead to overheating.

I am lucky because my owner takes me on trips with her. Not all dogs can do this. Some can stay at home with a pet sitter but others have to be boarded at a kennel. Visit the facility ahead of time to see if it is a good place for your dog and that it meets your standards. See if it is clean and ask to see the size of the enclosure where your pet will be spending most of its time. See where they will be exercised and how often and meet the people who will be caring for your pet. Here is a  warning: because of the potential risk of exposure to infectious diseases at boarding facilities, like kennel cough and influenza, make sure your pet is appropriately vaccinated. Not every pet should be boarded, especially those that suffer from chronic illness, are immunosuppressed, elderly or suffer from anxiety. Pet sitters in the home would be a better choice for these pets.

And then the most important advice of all: Never leave your pet in a car without air conditioning. It is very dangerous! In minutes, a parked car can turn into an oven.

I can’t wait to see what adventures I’ll have this summer. And I hope that I will see all my dog friends keeping cool!

For more hot weather tips for pets you can go to the ASPCA website:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/hot-weather-tips

Journalist

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Posted in A Day in the Life of Maggie Mae, One Day in the Life of Maggie Mae

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