How To Take The Best Care Of Your Dog In The Summer

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The dog days of summer are so called because these are the days when dogs like to lie around in the shade not doing much of anything.  These days we tend to interpret this to mean that it’s a great time to get out and do active things with your dog.  Many towns and cities hold festivals in honor of these dog days.  Doubtless many dogs feel rather disgruntled (or worse) when required to attend many family outings.

Summertime is the time to make the living easy for your dog.  You should be sure he can always keep cool and take great care to prevent dehydration and heat stroke.  You can do this by providing your dog with a nice shady spot in the yard and a wading pool full of water if he is an outdoor dog.

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Indoor dogs also need ample fresh water and a cool place to rest and relax.  Be sure that your pet’s favorite spot or bed is in an area that gets good ventilation.  Even though conserving energy and money are both smart habits, be sure to keep your house at a temperature that will keep your dog safe and comfortable when you are away.

You should not neglect your dog’s exercise in the summertime but you should adjust your activities and schedule so as not to overdo it.  Take your walks and make your dog park visits in the early morning or at dusk when it is cooler.  Be sure to take along water and a bowl your dog can drink fromA collapsible, waterproof fabric bowl is handy and easy to carry.  Always put dog shoes on when walking your dog on hot surfaces.  I’ve seen many dog with very sore/burnt feet from walking on hot paths/sidewalks and roads.

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Your dog may love running alongside your bike in the spring and fall, but avoid this in the summer.  A dog will run along until he collapses from heat exhaustion.  Protect your dog from this by gearing your activities down in the summer or substituting water activities.

Never leave your dog in the car at any time of year.  This is doubly true in the summer.  Even if you park in the shade and leave your windows open a bit, it can get extremely hot in a parked car.  Many dogs have died from heat prostration caused by this practice.  These days, so many people are aware of the danger, you are very likely to return to your car to find your windows broken and the police standing by no matter how briefly you were gone.  For all these reasons, if you are going somewhere and your dog cannot accompany you, it’s better to leave him home.

Just like people, dogs may feel even more uncomfortable in the summertime if they are overweight.  Be sure to keep your dog at a proper weight all year round.  If he does put on a little weight in the wintertime, switch to a light dog food to help him be slim, svelte and cool in time for summer.

Taking good care of your dog in the summer is really just common sense.  Avoid excessive sun exposure and strenuous exercise.  Be sure plenty of clean water is available at all times.  Make the most of opportunities to cool off by going for a dip and running in the sprinklers.

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Mark Mansfield

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