Articles Index/Summer Brings Fun … and Perils, Too
Summer is nearly upon us, and there are a lot of activities that are fun to do with our dogs. The most important thing to remember is that there are safety issues associated with any outdoor activity and if your dog is largely sedentary during the rest of the year, you don’t want to overdo it with too much exercise too early in the season.
If you take your pup swimming, the most important thing to consider is whether or not your dog likes it. Never toss a dog into a pool because you think it would be fun to see him swim. A life jacket is a must if your dog will be spending time on a boat. And never leave your dog alone in any body of water. You need to make sure he can get out of the pond or pool safely, especially if he is tired from all that dog paddling.
Hiking is also great fun and good exercise but make sure that your dog is protected against fleas and ticks. Be sure to bring water on your hike. And, if you’ll be walking on sun-baked rocks, be careful that the dog’s pads don’t get burned.
Among the most common reasons for veterinary visits during summer months are stings and bites from various insects; foreign bodies such as foxtails that become imbedded in paws, ears, and noses; otitis externa (old fashioned ear infections) caused by water in the ear canal after a dog has been swimming, and heat stroke.
Of all of these, heat stroke can be deadly and a stricken dog must receive immediate treatment. Signs of heat stroke include increased body temperature, vigorous panting, dark red gums, tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums), lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up, collapse and/or loss of consciousness, thick saliva and dizziness or disorientation.
If you even suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, take immediate action. Move the dog out of the heat and begin cooling him by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on his body, the pads of his feet and around his head. Do not use ice or very cold water as this can make the problem worse. Offer the dog cool water, and call your vet immediately.
Common sense when it comes to exercising in the hot sun is a valuable commodity … for man and beast alike.
ANTIC, June 2010
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