Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dog-Friendly Day Trips for the Summer Months

When deciding on a day trip for your pet it’s important to keep in mind that it’s still summer, so keeping your dog cool and hydrated is still priority number one. There are many summer activities that you may not think of as completely dog-friendly, but are likely in your local area. Most pets love the same activities as their owners, and there are easy ways to keep these activities safe for our canine companions.

Dog hikes are fun for both humans and dogs alike. The first thing you have to do when planning a hike for you and your pet is research the trails. It’s crucial that you check ahead to see if the trail you plan to hike allows dogs. Many National Parks don’t allow dogs and, although this is unfortunate for us pet owners, there are plenty of other options for you and your four-legged friend. Make sure the trail isn’t too arduous for your pet, and bring enough water to keep both you and your pet well hydrated. Also, don’t forget to bring poop bags for the inevitable poop scooping on the trail. Getting your dog walking and active is essential for an active lifestyle, and going on a hike is a great way to do this.

Beaches can also be a fun summer activity for you and your pet. As with the hikes, make sure dogs are allowed on the beach you plan to visit, and pack plenty of water. Many beaches have a pet-friendly water spigot accessible, so scout around and find that water source. After taking care of the water situation, try to find a spot of shade on the beach or bring an umbrella. You don’t want your dog overheating on those hotter days. Also, if your dog goes into the water make sure you keep an eye on them. Rising tides can bring large waves and strong currents that may catch you or your pet off guard.

Daily dogwalks are very important for a dog’s well-being. Most dogs require two to three walks a day in order to stay fit and happy. If you are using a pet-sitting or dog walking service let your pet sitter or dog walker know what times you usually walk your pets. This will allow your pet to feel a lot more comfortable even when you’re away. Although this may seem like an obvious activity, it’s still important to keep your dog active even in the summer months. Even a simple neighborhood dog walk can be very beneficial to your pet.

Another more obscure summer activity is to sign up for a dog-friendly running or walking event, preferably for a beneficial pet charity. Participating in one of these events is a great experience for both you and your dog. It allows a kind of connection with your animal and other pets and their owners that many other activities do not. It’s a great excuse to get you and your pet in shape, and a great memory for both of you

Safety is the main priority when planning your summer pet activities, and once you’ve got a good safe plan, a nice outing with your pet can be an amazingly rewarding experience.                       

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Keep Your Pets Cool this Summer

As we near the hottest days of the summer months our pets need more and more assistance in staying cool. On these sweltering days our pets are faced with a variety of problems: sunburn, dehydration, and overheating are just a few. Of all pets, dogs are especially susceptible to the heat. Here are a few tips to help keep your pets cool on these hot days:

1. Keep your pet hydrated. Many dogs, even on the hottest of days, will overexert themselves. Keep an eye on your dog, and watch for rapid breathing or their tongue consistently hanging out – sure signs they’re getting overheated. Make sure your pet is well hydrated, by always keeping water easily accessible for them. And, if you’re a dog walker or pet sitter, keep some extra water for other dog owners who forgot to pack their own. You never know when that extra water could come in handy.

2. Never leave your pet unattended in the car. Another tip that may seem obvious, but is still a large concern within the pet community, is to never leave your pets in the car by themselves – especially on hot days. Most of the time, leaving your pet in the car may seem like an alternative to tying them up outside but, on these hot days, it’s deadly. Dogs are easily dehydrated because of their fur and their higher than average body temperature (usually around 100-105 F). So either keep them at home, or tie them up outside in a cool, shaded and safe location at your destination.

3. Conscientiously exercise your pet. Pet exercise is incredibly integral for the well-being of our pets, but it’s very easy for pets to exercise too much or too hard in the summer. Try to be conscientious about your pet’s needs and take shorter dog walks, or in the early morning or evening when temperatures typically cool down. A great activity for dogs is to take them to a safe body of water, be it a lake, the beach, or a friend’s pool. Make sure that your pet is supervised in the pool because many dogs have a hard time getting out of pools and are at risk of drowning if left alone. Most dogs love playing in the water, and this activity is a great way for dogs to get some exercise without overheating or getting dehydrated. If you don’t have access to a swimming area, consider a kid’s blowup pool for your pet to wade in.
summer dog!
4. Protect your pet from sunburn. Dogs can get sunburned, and preventing that can sometimes be a hassle. Many dogs will lick off their sunscreen if it’s put on their bellies or anywhere else that they can reach it. If you groom your dog, to prevent sunburns make sure you’re not trimming their coat to the point where their skin is overly exposed to the sun. Apply sunscreen, specifically advertised for animals, to the tips of their nose, ears and anywhere else they typically show signs of sunburn.

5. Educate your pet care provider. Many pet owners will be going away this summer and, if any of you travelers are using pet care services to watch your pet while you’re away, make sure they are well versed in the risks of these hot summer months. Be sure to provide your pet sitter or dog walker with any information about your pet’s specific needs or reactions to the heat.

With a little preparation and prevention, you and your pets can beat the heat and enjoy an endless summer filled with fun, sun and lots of playtime.