Contributed by Angie Lewis
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 vehicle, not even with the windows opened. Dogs can’t perspire the way humans do and have a very hard time cooling off in a hot car. The temperature in a car can rise to 120 degrees in just a few minutes. This can lead to the death of your dog.
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. Keep them under lock and key. Try to use organics.
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, for both you and your dog. 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. Remember, 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. Be cautious about beavers, who can be very dangerous to dogs.
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 and they 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 and activities. These dogs may become so stressed that they may need medications to help them cope.
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.
Now go out and enjoy your summer, along with your dog friend, but do it safely.
– Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates