Contributed by Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates
Summer should be a time of enjoyment for you and your dog, but all too often this is a time of year when situations arise that can endanger your dog. There are only a few safety practices that need to be followed to ensure you and your dog have a wonderful time this summer.
• Don’t leave your dog in a car, not even with the windows opened. Dogs can’t perspire and have a very hard time cooling off in a hot car. The temperature in a car can rise to 120 degrees in a few minutes.
• Don’t drive with your dog in the back of a pickup. Your dog is a member of the family and should be treated as such. If you had to suddenly hit the brakes, your dog might literally fly out of your truck bed. Let her sit in the cab with you, or if nothing else, put her in a secured crate in the back of your truck.
• Recognize lawn and garden dangers – Plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be lethal for your dog.
• Lost dogs – Make sure your dog is micro-chipped and that the contact information is current. In addition, your dog should wear a collar with an identification tag.
• Dehydration – Make sure your dog has plenty of water and shade to help her remain cool and hydrated.
• Exercise – Hiking with your dog is a wonderful experience. Be sure to limit exercise on a really hot day, particularly for older dogs or dogs with thick coats. Provide enough rest time and ample water. Asphalt can be very hot and actually burn your dog’s paws.
• Lakes - Not all dogs are natural born swimmers and can easily drown. Monitor your dog to make certain of her skill level as a swimmer.
• Fleas and Ticks – This is not as big a problem in Alaska as it is in other parts of the country. If you use products for fleas and ticks, check with your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter treatments can be toxic, even when used as directed.
• Summer Events – Be mindful of taking your dog to summer events such as concerts, fairs or other crowded places. These can be stressful for some dogs that may run the risk of getting lost. Know your dog and what might be uncomfortable for her.
• Other Revelry – Some dogs are very frightened of the loud sounds of fireworks and firearms. Dogs are best kept in the house for these celebrations. Some dogs become so stressed that they need medications to help them deal with loud sounds. Dogs can become lost as they try to escape the noise and run away.