Warmer months are some of the most enjoyed months, welcomed by humans and pets alike. Most of us crave adventure and outdoor experience, and many of us bring our pets to join in on the fun. Here are 5 tips I have put together, on how to keep your pet safe and happy during this summer’s fun.
1) Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car! This is some of the best advice I can give, and I CANNOT emphasize this life-saving tip enough! Every summer, dogs fall victim to this death, and it is so avoidable. That’s why I am reminding you: Cars get very hot, and fast! Even in the shade, with the windows down, and a bowl of water in the back seat, the temperature in a parked car can rise to fatal and oven-like temperatures in a matter of minutes. Please, please, please leave your dog at home when you are running errands! I only want what’s safest for your pet. Click here to sign the ASPCA’s Hot Car Pledge.
2) Caution With Hot Cement! Just like a parked car, cement can become burning hot during a mid-afternoon summer day. I LOVE that you enjoy jogging and exercising with your 4-legged child — it’s really important physical and mental stimulation that both you and your dog can enjoy together. Just be mindful of the pavement’s temp! Whenever possible, avoid afternoon pavement and enjoy a jog with your dog in the early morning or evening hours. Finding a jogging route on a hiking trail or grassy area is also advised.
3) Prepare for the 4th of July! I enjoy the 4th of July too, but some of our dogs and cats are not too psyched on the idea of loud fireworks. Every year, the number of stray animals brought to local humane societies sky rocket (get it?!) during the 4th of July holiday weekend. Please keep your pet safe! If they are joining you out and about, USE A LEASH, and watch for signs that their stress level is increasing (do you know what those signs look like?). Be cautious when opening the front or back doors- they may experience the “fight or flight” response and try to run out (if you aren’t familiar with the “fight or flight” response, leave a comment, and I am happy to explain further!). If you know that your pet’s anxiety peaks during this holiday- be prepared! Talk to your vet about holistic approaches that may help your pup to stay calm (l-theanine, dog/cat appeasing pheromones, rescue remedy, chamomile, lavender, thunder shirts). In other situations, pharmaceuticals may be necessary to keep your animal comfortable. Take the time to reassure your pet that all will be okay! Oh- and enjoy the holiday!
4) Watch for Unassuming Streams! Unfortunately, drowning is one of the most common cause of deaths while hiking or in the backcountry (if not THE most common). Streams and creeks that are generally mild and tame can become dangerous and deep during summer months. This causes whirlpools and sometimes very unassuming currents. Be incredibly mindful when crossing streams, and even avoid doing so if you can. When approaching streams and creeks, leash up– and this is especially true if you have a dog that just loves to swim at any opportunity. It is a really good idea to invest in a canine life jacket if your primary goal is to take your dog boating, canoeing, paddle boarding, or just plain swimming with you.
5) Avoid “Weekend Warrior Syndrome”! A “Weekend Warrior” is a person or animal that has been inactive for a period of time, and then overdoes it, resulting in Weekend Warrior Syndrome (aches, pains, or even injuries). Weekend Warrior Syndrome is especially easy to become victim to in areas with cold winters (like Colorado), where we spend more time on the couch during the snowy months, and then are incredibly eager to hit the trails the moment the temperatures rise a notch. Believe me, you are not alone — I too have experienced this multiple times! However, when you create this pattern, you are potentially setting your dog up for injury. Unlike us, our dogs are generally very stoic, meaning they will often hide that they are tender or sore until they are in significant pain. Avoid being a weekend warrior — start with slow and easy activities, with a short duration. Then, gradually increase the duration and intensity of the activity. Ensure your dog has lots of water to drink, and regular snacks too. Staying hydrated and well fed can directly affect our body, joints and muscles, and the way we move. Regular massage is an excellent way to warm up, and stretch out muscles!
I hope these tips are helpful, and good reminders. As always, let me know if you have any questions or thoughts by writing a comment below.
Wishing you and yours all kinds of fun under the sun in 2016!