Millions of cats and dogs live on the street or end up euthanized because of unwanted litters.
Still, many people are reluctant to spay or neuter their pets. The fact is, spaying and neutering is a healthy choice for your pet. It reduces the risk of breast cancer in females and testicular cancer in males. Neutered males are also less likely to run away from home, mark their territory, or exhibit aggressive behaviors.
Those puppy-dog eyes Fido gives you when you scold him over knocking over the garbage can for the umpteenth time aren’t a sign of guilt, researchers say. He’s just responding to your rebuke.
When dog owners thought their dogs had eaten a forbidden treat and reprimanded them, the pooches looked just as “guilty” regardless of whether or not they had actually eaten the treat.
In fact, dogs who were wrongly accused of snack-snatching often looked more guilty than dogs who had really eaten the treat.
Turns out those soulful eyes don’t reflect any soul-searching, after all.
Summer is the time to have outdoor fun with our dogs. Longer walks in the park, ambitious hikes, beach days, or family travel — the sun is shining, and the outdoors is calling. But hot weather can also make us uncomfortable, and it poses special risks for dogs. From an increased exposure to ticks and other insects, to sunburn, and even heatstroke, all sorts of things can go wrong for your dog in summer. Keep the following safety concerns in mind as the temperature rises, and follow our tips for summer safety for dogs. They will help you keep your pet happier and healthier during the dog days of summer.
Help Your Dog Beat the Heat
- Give your dog a shady spot to hang out on hot days or keep him inside where there’s air-conditioning. Doghouses are not good shelter in the summer because they can trap heat.
- Fill a child-size wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in.
- Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can reach 100 degrees in just 20 minutes.
- Provide plenty of cool, fresh water.
- Avoid exercising your dog strenuously on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense.
- Avoid exposing your dog to hot asphalt or sand for any prolonged period; it can burn his paws.
- Be mindful of your dog’s breed. Dogs that are brachycephalic (have a short head and snout), have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-nosed dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.
Keep Your Dog Healthy in Summer
- Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, especially since dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months.
- Keep dogs off of lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and away from toxic plants and flowers.
- Keep your dog well brushed, clean, and free of mats.
- Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes that carry heartworm
Safety Tips for Taking Dogs to the Beach
- Give your dog a shady spot to rest.
- Provide plenty of fresh water.
- Protect him against sunburn. Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can get sunburned. Limit your dog’s exposure during the day and apply sunscreen to his ears, nose, and coat before going outside.
- Check with a lifeguard for water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish.
- Keep a check on his activity. Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can pull a tendon or ligament, and running on wet sand can make his paw pads blister.
- Don’t let your dog drink ocean water; the salt will make him sick.
- Rinse him off at the end of the day. Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog’s coat.
- Check local ordinances before heading out. Not all beaches allow dogs, and some restrict the time they can be there.
Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water
- Let your dog go for a swim. Some dogs are natural swimmers; others won’t get a toe wet. Never force your dog into the water.
- Don’t let your dog overdo it; swimming is hard work, and he may tire quickly. When swimming in the ocean, be careful of strong tides.
- Never leave your dog unattended in water.
- Put your dog in a life vest.
Traveling in Summer With Your Dog
- Be aware that many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Check with the airlines for specific rules.
- Put ice packs wrapped in a towel or an ice blanket in the dog’s crate if you do ship a dog. Two-liter soft drink bottles filled with water and then frozen work well.
- Provide a container of fresh water, as well as a container of frozen water that will thaw over the course of the trip.
- Keep your dog cool in the car by putting ice packs wrapped in a towel in his crate. Make sure the crate is well ventilated.
- Use a cooling pad as his bed or crate liner.
- Put a sunshade on your car windows.
- Bring along fresh water and a bowl, and a tarp or tent, so you can set up a shady spot when you stop. Keep a spray bottle filled with water to spritz on your dog to cool him down.
- Never leave an RV or motor home completely closed up, even if the generator and air-conditioning are running. Crack a window or door or run the exhaust fan.
- Even though there’s lots of space to walk around, when you’re moving your dog should be attached to a dog-safe seat belt or ride in a secured crate. If you have to make a sudden stop, he’ll be protected.
- Check out the location of the nearest veterinary office, if you plan to stay in one place for any length of time. You should also plan ahead and verify that campgrounds are pet-friendly.
Be Alert to Dehydration and Heatstroke
Dogs can become dehydrated when more fluids leave the body than it takes in. They lose fluids through panting, urinating, and even from evaporation through their paws. If you see any of the following symptoms, the dog needs rehydration and replacement of electrolytes right away:
- Dry gums and nose.
- Thick saliva.
- Sunken eyes.
- Loss of elasticity in the skin.
Just giving your dog a bowl of water may not be enough; electrolytes may need to be replaced, as well. Use a product like PedialyteR, electrolyte-enhanced water, or an electrolyte solution. Check with your veterinarian for dosage recommendations. You may also need to go to an emergency vet who can administer intravenous fluids.
Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog’s prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Heatstroke usually occurs when high ambient temperature overcomes the dog’s ability to dissipate heat. The degree of damage is determined by how high a temperature is reached and how long the animal is exposed. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog is overcome.
- Heavy panting.
- Rapid breathing.
- Excessive drooling.
- Bright red gums and tongue.
- Difficulty maintaining balance.
- White or blue gums.
- Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
- Uncontrollable urination or defecation.
- Labored, noisy breathing.
If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should try immediately to cool him down. Cooling methods include getting him into the shade, spraying him with cool or tepid water, and fanning him. Severely affected dogs require fluids, medication, support, and oxygen.
Check your dog’s temperature regularly during this process. Once it’s stabilized at between 100-to-102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process. If you can’t get the dog cooled down, and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to a veterinarian immediately.
The best treatment for heatstroke is prevention. Limit the time your dog works or exercises in hot weather. Choose cooler periods of the day for training and exercise sessions. Provide plenty of cool, fresh water, shade, and frequent rest periods when it’s hot.
Nothing beats canine companionship on vacations, in the great outdoors, and on the beach. As a responsible dog owner, you can ensure that your vacation with your best friend will be enjoyable for both of you.
A retractable leash is not so much a leash as it is a length of thin cord wound around a spring-loaded device housed inside a plastic handle. The handles of most retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in a human hand. A button on the handle controls how much of the cord is extended.
Retractable leashes are popular primarily because they aren’t as confining as regular leashes, allowing dogs more freedom to sniff and poke around on walks. But unfortunately, there are many downsides to this type of leash.
10 Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash:
1: The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows dogs to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous. A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people.
2: In the above scenario, or one in which your pet is being approached by an aggressive dog, it is nearly impossible to get control of the situation if the need arises. It’s much easier to regain control of – or protect — a dog at the end of a six-foot standard flat leash than it is if he’s 20 or so feet away at the end of what amounts to a thin string.
3: The thin cord of a retractable leash can break – especially when a powerful dog is on the other end of it. If a strong, good-sized dog takes off at full speed, the cord can snap. Not only can that put the dog and whatever he may be chasing in danger, but also the cord can snap back and injure the human at the other end.
4: If a dog walker gets tangled up in the cord of a retractable leash, or grabs it in an attempt to reel in their dog, it can result in burns, cuts, and even amputation. In addition, many people have been pulled right off their feet by a dog that reaches the end of the leash and keeps going. This can result in bruises, “road rash,” broken bones, and worse.
5: Dogs have also received terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash, including neck wounds, lacerated trachea, and injuries to the spine.
6: Retractable leashes allow dogs more freedom to pull at the end of them, which can look like aggression to another dog who may decide to “fight back.”
7: The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands, resulting in a runaway dog.
8: Along those same lines, many dogs – especially fearful ones – are terrorized by the sound of a dropped retractable leash handle and may take off running, which is dangerous enough. To make matters worse, the object of the poor dog’s fear is then “chasing” her, and if the leash is retracting as she runs, the handle is gaining ground on her – she can’t escape it. Even if this scenario ultimately ends without physical harm to the dog (or anyone else), it can create lingering fear in the dog not only of leashes, but also of being walked.
9: Retractable leashes, like most retractable devices, have a tendency to malfunction over time, either refusing to extend, refusing to retract, or unspooling at will.
10: Retractable leashes are an especially bad idea for dogs that haven’t been trained to walk politely on a regular leash. By their very nature, retractable train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.