November 10, 2009

Here are a few important safety tips to keep in mind while out and about with your hound in summertime.

Heat stroke: The first thing to do, is get the animal out of the heat; wet them completely down with cold water if possible, and apply cold water continuously. Place ice packs around the dog if you can, and get to a veterinarian immediately. You can administer Rescue Remedy every 10 minutes as well, to help calm the animal. Rescue Remedy is a great tool to have for any stressful situation and is incredibly safe to use.

The most common cause of heat stroke is from being left in a parked car, or over-exertion such as hiking or other exercise in very hot weather without sufficient rest in the shade and cool drinks. Always plan ahead and take water with you. It may be better to leave your dog at home, rather than risk his health by letting him stay in a parked car, even for a few minutes.

Sun burn: Many animals, especially those with lighter hair and skin, can get sunburn and skin cancers as well. As you apply and reapply sun block to yourself, don’t forget to add some to pink, thin furred noses and ears, etc. There are many good quality canine sun blocks on the market but if necessary, a child’s hypoallergenic, natural sunblock will do. Particular care should be taken for dogs who have had their fur trimmed for summer. This can expose the delicate skin underneath, which doesn’t usually get much contact with the sun.

Paw pads: Use caution during the hot months when walking your dog. Black top and other hard surfaces like concrete as well as the sand at the beach, can get scorching hot. Parking lots, leather seats, and truck beds can also burn and blister your dog’s pads. It’s sometimes tempting to wet the paws to cool them down but this can actually make matters worse, because wet feet will sizzle even more when they come back in contact with a hot surface.

Paw pad booties are a wise investment if you plan to be out and about in summertime. A torn up towel and tape will work in an emergency situation, to protect the paws until you can get home. Calendula and aloe creams or gels are helpful for soothing blistered, sore paws.

Snakes! For those who live in rattlesnake territory, be aware that snakes love to sun themselves and will lie out on in the middle of a trail to catch some rays. There are rattlesnake avoidance classes for dogs available in many areas.

The summer months can offer a world of fun for you and your pets, so go out and enjoy, and stay safe!