My Dog & I: Summer.

Thank Goodness! Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year when we can finally put away the fingerless gloves and thermals and find our flipflops…

It is with great relief that I know I can count on mostly warm days and some river fun! So lets talk about some ways to make your Summer enjoyable for you and your dog friends…

Some of the things that we really love about summer are also the things that can cause stress in our dogs so a quick heads-up about things to look out for in the coming months.

It has been a terrible year for ticks and fleas! The mild winter and the emigration of lyme disease to our region have combined to cause a huge rise in the number of cases of Lyme Disease in our dogs…and also in people. The old myths about the ticks only being in the woods are simply not relevant any more. Your dog can pick up a tick on the lawn or in a park just as easily as out in the country. I have been vaccinating for Lyme disease annually and keep my dogs on a feed-thru’ tick/flea preventative every month – all thru’ the winter.

Beat the heat! If your dog travels around with you as mine do, it is very important to make sure that they do not become heat-stressed or dehydrated. Make sure the car is parked in the shade if you have to leave it for any time. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation…sunroof open, windows half open, back window open. Your dog should be confined safely so that he may not escape, (I use wire crates so that there is ventilation) and make sure you carry water with you so that you can offer it often. Remember that glass magnifies suns rays and even if you are driving, can cause heat stress if your dog cannot escape these rays. Tinted windows help and of course, AC but you should check often to make sure your dog is not uncomfortable. Long trips to the beach should be broken up into smaller chunks and frequent “potty breaks” for fresh air and a leg stretch as well.

Talking of the beach…please remember that not all dogs are smart about what kind of water they drink and will sometimes head for sea water if they are thirsty…Its true! Two of my dogs became very ill that way when they drank sea water, not knowing that it was not potable! Things on the beach should also be monitored as two month old dead crabs will not be good for your dog’s tummy either!!

Talking of tummies…The lovely green grass hides all kinds of interesting things to eat. Old carcasses and dead voles to name a few. A good idea to check your pup regularly for worms of ALL types during the summer as we do not always see what they are ingesting…dead birds, half-eaten rabbits, discarded deer parts…such delicious snacks!

Another summer tip is that a cool hose-down will diminish your dog’s temperature much faster than a lot of drinking water. There is a reason those old shepherds dunk their sheepdogs in a horse trough after they have been working. We have two 50 gallon horse troughs at our daycare and the dogs spend all day in the summer jumping in and out of them to keep cool.

If you have to leave your dog outside in your yard during the day, make SURE that she can get out of the sun at any time she needs. The shady spots change during the day and what can be pleasant in the morning when you leave may be in full sun at 2o’clock while you are gone. Check this out on the weekends and remember that the angles change during the year.

Last but not least, hotspots can become a real issue if not discovered under a thick coat so if your dog has long hair, like a Huskie, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, to name just a few…consider a Summer haircut! Our Golden Retriever became quite puppyish when we shaved him in the Summer and his coat had plenty of time to grow back for the Winter.

So have fun, stay safe and healthy, enjoy the water and walk in the shady woods with protection. Try to do active things in the early part of the day and in the evening and take the occasional siesta!

Can’t wait for watermelons and fresh tomatoes…see you at the flea market with your well behaved dogs!!

– Janine Lazarus with Goodladd Dog Training, goodladd.net, HashtagWV #90. June 2017

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