Most people refer to adults and kids when talking about water safety. But don’t forget about an important part of the family, dogs.
Many breeds enjoy the water, playing by the shore and doggy paddling with the kids in shallow waters, but any dog can easily be injured or scared while enjoying the water.
If you have a boating dog, he or she should be a good swimmer, but in case of an emergency, a lifevest is necessary when out on any watercraft at the ocean, lake or river.
Any sustained injury or strong current or rapids can result in your dog’s good swimming skills to falter.
I recommend the Bid Eddy Float Coat Dog Lifejacket (item no. A30063) from www.fetchdog.com or the Designer PetSaver Lifejacket (item no. 10429) from www.carealotpets.com, anytime your dog is near water or on a watercraft.
Another big risk factor during summer is the heat. It’s important for owners to understand that dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans are. Their heavy coats work against the cooling process when exposed to the sun and heat. Take this sentence out.
Heat stroke occurs when heat gain exceeds a dog’s ability to dissipate the heat. High temperatures are the cause, which most commonly results in dehydration, but can also result in vital organ failure, brain damage or death.
Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs are rapid, frantic panting, vomiting, or delusion.
First thing, never leave your dog in a parked car, even with the A.C. running. A few years ago, a friend of mine left her dogs in the car with the A.C. running on a very hot day while she ran a quick errand. When she came back, her A.C., her car had turned off, the A.C. had stopped and both of her dogs had died from heat stoke. Second, never leave your dog in the sun without water or shade. Some breeds of dogs such as English Bulldogs cannot stand to be in the heat (even if its in the shade) for even 15 minutes. Because many of them have an elongated palate, it can cause them to not take in enough oxygen when they are panting heavily and cause them to go into a heat stroke.
On hot days, reduce the amount of exercise during the hottest periods of the day, noon to 3 p.m.
If your dog were to show any signs of heat stroke, immediately take them to a cool place and give them water, and seek immediate advice from your vet.
Another common risk factor for dogs during summer is hot pavement. Remember pavement, metal and tar-coated asphalt gets very hot under the summer sun.
If your dog is limping or refusing to walk, missing part of a pad, licking or chewing at their feet or if pads look darker than usual or contain blisters or redness, it’s evident your dog has burned pads.
Flush your pooch’s paws with cool water, and get the dog to a grassy area or indoors quickly. Keep them off pavement or asphalt until they show signs of improvement.
You can consult with a vet if you think your dog may have deeper burns.
Sunburn is another risk factor for pooches this time of year. While dogs do not get sunburn as often as people do, it is still possible.
Light colored or hairless dogs are at higher risk. If your dog’s skin appears to be more red than usual, sunburn has occurred.
Snouts, right around the nose, are common areas of sunburn for dogs. It’s safe to apply waterproof sunscreen before being out in the sun.
If your dog’s skin develops blisters, that’s evidence of a second-degree burn, which needs immediate vet attention.
Each year, many dogs are diagnosed with skin cancer, so take caution during the summer months.
If you have additional questions about summer safety, please e-mail me at [email protected].