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It seems like all year we are just waiting for summer to come around… and when it is, we aren’t ready. It’s like 0 to 100 so quick and we find ourselves exhausted, burnt, dehydrated, and praying for a rainy day so that we don’t get sun guilt when staying inside and watching Netflix… We aren’t the only ones, though, who feel the negatives of summertime! Dogs are susceptible to just as many things as us humans when it comes to sun safety. Here we will lay out our best dog security recommendations to be conscious of as owners and dog walkers. Dog safety is GoFetch’s number one priority, after all.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe – DOG SECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS
Dogs are incredible animals, we love them a great deal, and for the most part they are quite resilient. However, there are some important dog security recommendations that all dog owners should keep top of mind when caring for their beloved pet.
Dogs And Heat Don’t Mix!
Most people know that dogs and heat aren’t a great mix due to physiological reasons. The number 1 danger with respect to heat is cars. As a rule of thumb, NEVER leave dogs in cars. Cracking the windows helps a little bit, but temperatures can still rapidly rise in a car making it dangerous for dogs. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take that high of temperatures for it to be dangerous. This creates huge problem for dog safety as many dog owners may not exercise due caution. A car parked in the shade can reach dangerous temperatures on a hot day; and if it’s in the sun, the temperature can rapidly rise up to 160°F. Experiments showed that even at a mild 72°F, the inside of a car reached 116°F in an hour, plenty hot to kill a dog. One dog died after being locked in a parked car on a sunny, 67°F day, even though the car windows were cracked. Its good to keep in mind that if you are out running errands, the safest place for your dog is at home.
What do to if you see a dog in a hot car?
When walking, if you see a dog left alone in a car under dangerous conditions, note the car’s location, color, model, make, and license plate number, and contact local humane authorities or police, who usually have authority to break in to save the animal. If you can make a good guess as to which store the driver might be in, ask the store manager to page them. Finally, when looking at the dog, if the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, immediately take steps towards dog safety by lowering the animals temperature.
Dogs can’t sweat—they control their body temperature by panting. If the air in the car is near or above the dog’s body temperature (about 100°F), the dog will be unable to cool itself, and its body temperature can quickly rise to fatal levels (over 107°F). Heatstroke symptoms in dogs include: heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobbly legs.
If you notice these symptoms, our best dog security recommendations would be to not place her in ice cold water, which can put her into shock. This is not the right reaction for proper dog-safety. Instead, move her to a cool place, drape a damp towel over her body, re-wet the cloth frequently, and get her to the vet as soon as you possibly can. A dog’s normal temperature is between 100° and 103°F, so once she hits 104°F, she’s in dangerous territory (106°F or higher can be fatal).
How much water do dogs need?
Dogs will self regulate the amount of water that they consume. The key as an owner is to make sure that you are providing your dog with access. Naturally, the warmer the temperature the more water your dog will need to consume. Dogs that are exercising also love to drink water so taking a supply of water out on walks and runs is a great idea! The keys are
- Frequent access to water for dogs is critically important. In the hot summer your dog shouldn’t be going more than 20-30 min without access to water.
- Clean and fresh water is important for your dogs health just as it is important for human health
- A good rule of thumb, every time you need a drink, make sure your pup has access to a drinks as well. Keeping your pet hydrated is one our best and easiest dog security recommendations.
How to keep dogs cool indoors?
Not all indoor spaces are safe for dogs either. In hot climates or in condominiums with limited air flow and exposure to the sun temperatures can rise well beyond the outside temperature. When you are going to be gone for long hours of the day, make sure the house is cool.
- Air conditioning is a good way to ensure a stable temperature in your house/condo
- If you don’t have AC keeping the blinds closed and the windows open should help to keep the temperature down.
- Make sure there is an ample supply of water, which means a VERY LARGE water bowl.
Dogs get skin cancer – why you should put sunscreen on your dog?
You may not have thought of dogs getting skin cancer, but it is a real thing. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs. Even though fur provides some protection from the sun, you should apply a pet sunblock frequently. Here are some good guidelines.
- Limit your dogs time in the sun :). The #1 dog security recommentation for sun issues is simply to limit exposure. Yes, just like with humans being out in the direct sunlight for 10 hours is not the best idea for your dog either.
- If you are out in the sun for an extended period of time, apply sun screen every 3 to 4 hours to the least-hair-covered spots: bellies, (especially ones who like to lie on their backs), ears, and around eyes, which are all areas where malignant tumors are likely to show up.
- If your dog has a very light or thin fur, apply sunscreen to their coat.
- In the unfortunate event that your dog gets burnt apply a thin layer of pure aloe vera a couple of times a day to soothe the irritated area – be sure to check with your vet about the brand/product before applying.
- Sunburn combined with dehydration is an especially nasty combination. As stated previously make sure your dog always has an ample supply of water which will allow them to self regulate.
Haircut or no haircut – what to do with long hair dogs in the summer?
This dog safety tip is more-so for dog owners, as we’re assuming that no dog walker would carry around a pair of scissors and cut a dogs hair that isn’t theirs 🙂 !!
- Dogs fur helps your dog stay cool! You may think you are doing your dog a favour and cooling them off by cutting their fur, but that fur is like that for a reason. It’s insulating in the winter and provides a cooling system in the summer. So… resist the urge to cut it! “If hair—even long hair—is brushed and not matted, it provides better circulation and helps regulate body temperature,” says Rene Carlson, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Dog fur also helps them to keep warm in the winter. Minimal intervention with respect to a dogs fur allows them a better chance at self regulating as the seasons change and to be comfortable.
- Consult with your dog groomer for specific breed based recommendations
Walking your dog on hot ashphalt is dangerous
This can be a huge mistake depending on the temperature outside. It’s best to avoid walking a dog during the day’s highest heat and humidity, which is usually between 1 and 4 PM. This is especially important for dogs with short snouts, such as bulldogs, who can’t pant as efficiently in humid weather due to their narrowed nostrils and windpipes. If there is no escaping this time frame, then make sure you are well equipped with water, sunscreen, and frequent shade breaks.
If you do decide to walk the dog at this time, make sure you avoid asphalt… or at least test to see if it’s too hot. A good indicator of the asphalt being too hot is standing barefoot on it yourself for five seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for pups. Maybe take the dog to a heavily wooded trail with lots of shade instead!
Are all dogs strong swimmers?
Some dog breeds are much stronger natural swimmers than others. Standard poodles, Newfoundlands’, Irish Water Spaniel’s, and Irish Setters are all great swimming dogs to name a few. Keep in mind that while a particular breed may be fairly natural at swimming puppies still need to learn now to swim!
- Your dogs first swimming experiences should be in a controlled environment or perhaps at a beach if you are in the water with your puppy.
- Life vests for dogs can help to ensure your dog stays afloat and ensure that he/she can be seen by swimmers and boaters. If you are going to use a life vest for your dog it may be best to introduce to your dog prior to being in the water so they become accustomed to it.
- Be aware of currents and riptides: if a dog gets in trouble in one of these in the ocean, whether while swimming or fetching a ball, she can be swept out to sea in minutes. The same goes for rivers: You need to watch out for currents, even if they’re not readily visible, as your dog can be easily carried way downstream.
- Unattended swimming pools are dangerous even for good swimming dogs as they may not be able to get out. NEVER leave your dog unsupervised near an uncovered pool. If you have a pool in the backyard make sure the dog is trained and knows how to get out of the pool. Teach her how to get out of the pool by using the stairs with her repeatedly over many days or even weeks. This will help her learn where the stairs are, whether she’s swimming or accidentally falls in and needs to climb out.
How to manage your dog around unpredictable water
If your dog steps in a sinkhole, she may panic and need you to help her swim to where she can touch ground again. And avoid lakes and ponds with blue-green algae, signified by scummy water and a foul odor. Algae can produce a toxin that may cause severe sickness or seizures quickly if your pet ingests the water, by either drinking from the lake or licking tainted fur.
How do dogs react to mosquitoes and parasites?
Hookworms and heartworms are more prevalent during the summer and can infect your pet through the pads of his feet. Ask your vet for a prescription for Heartgard Plus or Interceptor Flavor Tabs, which will help keep parasites at bay.
Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitos as well. Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. DEET, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs. Make sure that your dog doesn’t lick you post-DEET bath. Also, avoid walking at dawn and dusk AKA mosquito rush hour. If you would like, lemon eucalyptus oil is also a natural mosquito repellent.
How to keep your dog safe in your yard
Azaleas are common backyard shrubs that can be toxic for dogs and cats if ingested, resulting in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, or an abnormal heart rate. Lilies are toxic to cats, so you might as well avoid those as well. Toxic mushrooms grow in many areas of the country, so be vigilant about removing them from your yard. Many plants (and all bulbs) are also toxic. Bulbs look a lot like dog toys, so keep them out of reach!
Summer also brings chemical hazards. Antifreeze is particularly deadly, so leaky cars are a hazard; clean up any spills immediately. This is the also the time of year when people are using fertilizers, mulches, and pesticides in yards and on lawns. While professionals will usually put flags up, do-it-yourselfers might not. Don’t let your dog wander in other yards where chemicals or cocoa mulch (toxic if ingested) are used.
How to keep your dog safe around fireworks
First of all, don’t let them eat them! If eaten, fireworks can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, seizures, and shallow breathing. Keep yours out of reach, and clear your yard of debris after you set off your display.
Also, many dogs are terrified of the loud noises that accompany fireworks. Make sure wherever you are is secure and that there is no way that your dog can bolt when the show starts. Make sure your dog feels safe, their collar with their ID is on, and there are treats, toys, and you by their side.
How should you drive with your dog?
As much as your dog may love to ride in the bed of a pickup, or hang his head out the window, either can cause your dog a world of hurt. Dust and gravel in the eyes are just the beginning; every year thousands of dogs are injured or killed when they jump or fall from vehicles. Even in an enclosed car, pets can injure themselves if the car breaks suddenly.
For car rides of any length, the very safest place for pets is in the back seat, either wearing a safety harness, or in a carrier or confined area. Pets loose in the car can distract and interfere with the driver, which could result in an accident. Harnesses designed as “doggie seat belts” provide safety during the trip, and prevent your dog from getting loose if someone unexpectedly opens the door. If your dog must ride in a truck bed, use a carrier or cross-ties to prevent injuries.
Why you should always carry dog identification
Pets should always wear a collar or harness and ID tag, no matter where they are or where they’re going. Owners, please consider having your pet microchipped as added “insurance.” Thousands of lost pets have been returned home thanks to microchips!
Should you invest in a dog first aid kit?
Whether at home or away, keep a first aid kit ready in case of emergencies. There are special kits for both dogs and cats, so you never have to panic! You might also want to keep flower essences on hand, to keep your pet calm while you give first aid or head for the vet.
DOG Food Safety Tips
Make sure you check out our blog on natural dog diets! This blog provides a lot of great information on what you should and should not be feeding our dog.
Chocolate – NO. Don’t let dogs get into chocolate. Chocolate contains a very toxic substance called methylxanthines, which are stimulants that stop a dog’s metabolic process. Even just a little bit of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizures, irregular heart function, and even death. If a dog ingest chocolate, contact a vet or pet poison helpline immediately.
Shrimp – Sometimes. Every now and then shrimp is okay, but make sure they are fully cooked and the shell is completely removed. Shrimp are high in antioxidants, vitamin B-12, and phosphorus, but also low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates.
Eggs – Yes. There is debate whether raw eggs are good or bad; raw eggs can give biotin deficiency, but others argue the yolk has enough biotin in it to balance it out. If you’re worried about it, cook them.
Turkey – Yes and no. Turkey is perfectly fine for dogs if it’s not covered in garlic and all extra fat and skin are removed. BUT! You have to be very careful about bones. Poultry bones are notoriously fragile and cause very serious internal damage to dogs or choking.
Cheese – Sometimes. Most dogs are lactose intolerant, so be aware of any symptoms post digesting dairy (i.e.: diarrhea). Small doses and low fat (cottage cheese or mozzarella) are the best options
Peanut butter – Yes. Just like whole peanuts, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein for dogs. It contains heart-healthy fats, vitamins B and E and niacin. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is the healthiest option because it doesn’t contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs.
Popcorn – Yes. Unsalted, unbuttered, plain air-popped popcorn is OK for your dog in moderation. It contains riboflavin and thiamine, both of which promote eye health and digestion, as well as small amounts of iron and protein. Be sure to pop the kernels all the way before giving them to your dog, as unpopped kernels could become a choking hazard.
Cinnamon – No. Cinnamon and its oils can irritate the inside of pets’ mouths, making them uncomfortable and sick. It can lower a dog’s blood sugar too much and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, increased, or decreased heart rate and even liver disease. If they inhale it in powder form, cinnamon can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, and choking.
Pork/ham – Yes. Pork is highly digestible protein, packed with amino acids. Pork also may be less likely to cause an allergic reaction in some pets compared to meat.
Corn – Yes and no. Corn is one of the most common ingredients in most dog foods. BUT, the cob can be very dangerous, causing choking or intestinal blockage.
Fish – Yes. Fish contains good fats and amino acids, giving your dog a nice health boost. Salmon and sardines are especially beneficial. With the exception of sardines, be sure to pick out all the tiny bones, which can be tedious but is necessary. Never feed your dog uncooked or under-cooked fish, only fully cooked and cooled, and limit your dog’s fish intake to no more than twice a week. Following this rule will increase your dog safety strategies!
Bread – Yes. Small amounts of plain bread (no spices and definitely no raisins) won’t hurt your dog, but it also won’t provide any health benefits either. It has no nutritional value and can really pack on the carbohydrates and calories, just like in people.
Yogurt – Yes. Plain yogurt is a perfectly acceptable snack for dogs. It is rich with protein and calcium. The active bacteria in yogurt can help strengthen the digestive system with probiotics. Avoid yogurts with added sugars and artificial sweeteners, though.
Honey – Yes. Honey is packed with countless nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. Feeding dogs a tablespoon of local honey twice a day can help with allergies because it introduces small amounts of pollen to their systems, building up immunity to allergens in your area. #savethebees
Garlic – No. Like onions, leeks, and chives, garlic is part of the Allium family, and it is five times more toxic to dogs than the rest of the Allium plants. Garlic can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapsing. Poisoning from garlic and onions may have delayed symptoms, so if you think your dog may have eaten some, monitor him or her for a few days, not just right after consumption.
Ice cream – Yes and No. Dogs are generally lactose intolerant, but still love ice cream. If you want to give a dog some plain vanilla, it will be okay – but monitor for signs of lactose intolerance (i.e.: diarrhea). If the dog expresses signs of distress, then avoid giving ice cream in the future. In the case of minimal symptoms, you may use your discretion. Always give in moderate amounts, however.
Coconut – Yes. This funky fruit contains Lauric, which strengthens the immune system by fighting off viruses. It can also help with bad breath and clearing up skin conditions like hot spots, flea allergies, and itchy skin. Coconut milk and coconut oil are safe for dogs too. Just be sure your dog doesn’t get its paws on the furry outside of the shell, which can get lodged in the throat.
Can dogs eat NUTS?
Almonds – No. Almonds may not necessarily be toxic to dogs like pecans, walnuts and macadamia nuts are, but they can block the esophagus or even tear the windpipe if not chewed completely. Salted almonds are especially dangerous because they can increase water retention, which is potentially fatal to dogs prone to heart disease.
Peanuts – Yes. Unlike almonds, peanuts are safe for dogs to eat. They’re packed with good fats and proteins that will benefit your dog. Just be sure to give peanuts in moderation – nuts are high in calories and fat. Also, avoid salted peanuts.
Macadamia nuts – No. These are some of the most poisonous foods for dogs. Macadamia nuts, part of the Protaceae family, can cause vomiting, increased body temperature, inability to walk, lethargy, and vomiting. Even worse, they can affect the nervous system. Never feed your pets macadamia nuts.
Cashews – Yes. Cashews are OK for dogs, but only a few at a time. They’ve got calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins, but while these nuts contain less fat than walnuts, almonds, or pecans, too many can lead to weight gain and other fat-related conditions. A few cashews here and there is a nice treat, but only if they’re unsalted.
WINTER – DOG SECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS
1. How to keep your dog warm
- Pet’s fur is not a perfect insulator, especially when it’s very cold. In winter, pets suffer from the weather extremes because mammalian systems for heat retention and regulation can be overwhelmed by excessive cold.
- When animals get wet, the fur loses much of its insulating ability. For cats and dogs with short fur, the protection is even more minimal; your pet’s toes, nose, and ears are even more vulnerable to chilly temps.
- Pets need protection from extreme temperatures, which includes warm, dry, draft-free shelter; plenty of food; and lots of water. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.
- Don’t put clothes on your pet and then shoo them outside to wander without supervision. Not only is your pet at risk for frostbite and other danger if his canine clothes get wet. Monitoring your dressed-up dog is essential.
- Keep your pet on a leash in cold weather – more dogs are lost in the winter than in any other season. Unleashed dogs may also run onto partially frozen bodies of water.
- Don’t let your dog eat snow. The snow may cause upset stomaches.
2. How to see the signs of a cold dog
- Puppies, senior dogs and dogs with certain disease conditions (such as thyroid conditions) are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Temperature related illnesses require immediate removal to a warm, dry environment and medical attention by your veterinarian.
- Hypothermia can result from extended exposure to cold and is a life-threatening condition. Watch your dog for signs of shivering, shallow breathing, weak pulse or lethargy.
- Frostbite is a temperature tissue injury. It most commonly occurs on ears, tails, scrotum or feet. Signs include discolored skin (red, pale, or grayish) swelling, or blisters. Check your pet often for signs of frostbite hidden beneath fur.
3. Watch out for cold temperature chemicals
Antifreeze– Ethylene Glycol, car antifreeze, is a deadly poison and has a sweet taste that appeals to dogs. As little as 1-2 teaspoons can be lethal to a small animal. Clean up all spills and consider switching to a Propylene Glycol product that is safer.
Ice Melters– Salt and ice-melters can act as a skin irritant. Make sure to wash your pet’s feet off after coming indoors. If you want to use protective boots, try slipping baby socks onto his paws to get him feeling comfortable with wearing something on his feet. Once your dog accepts the socks, he’s will be ready for booties; be sure the boots are not too tight, otherwise you risk cutting off your dog’s circulation and inviting frostbite – both of which are not good for dog safety.). Also, a pet-specific foot balm will help condition the pads.
4. How is winter grooming different than summer grooming?
- If you normally have your pet’s fur clipped or shaved, keep the length longer in winter to keep your dog warm.
- Nails may require more frequent trimming since your dog is spending more time indoor on soft surfaces.
- If you bathe your dog at home make sure he is completely dry before going out. You may even want to switch to a waterless shampoo for the winter, this is a great adjustment to help with dog safety.
5. Dog security recommendations for food & water in the Winter
- Water & food can easily freeze. Use heated bowls to prevent freezing and make sure that the electrical cords are out of reach of your pets.
- Outdoor dogs will burn more calories (up to 30%) and need extra food. Make sure that you are feeding additional rations during cold temperatures.
- Indoor pets won’t be eating or exercising as much, and therefore not need as much food. Adjust their food accordingly so they don’t pork up over winter
6. How obedience training can lead to high dog safety in the Winter
- Make sure that your dog or puppy is comfortable with having their feet wiped & handled. Keep towels near the door and make foot-wiping part of your daily routine. Reward your pet for allowing you to examine the condition of pads, check for ice in between toes, and trim fur (if required.)
- Obedience training for loose leash walking will make slippery walks safer for both pet and owner.
- Commands like “leave it” can save a dog’s life when confronted with a pool of antifreeze or an unknown object in the snow.
- Recall (coming when called) can keep a dog from running onto a partially frozen body of water or away from another winter hazard.
7. Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold – encourage dog safety
If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know your worries. If they don’t respond well, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff’s office and present your evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when. Respectfully follow up in a few days to understand the updated situation.
P.S. If the dog smile below doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will!
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