Besides being the best friend you have on four legs, your service dog, properly listed in the United States Service Dog Registry, has an important job to do. Summertime, with its heat, humidity and related issues, can be hard on animals. Here are nine tips for helping your dog enjoy a fun summer without incident.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Like humans, dogs can be severely affected by dehydration. Telling signs include lethargy, dry mouth and lack of interest in water. Be sure your dog has access to drinking water both inside and outside the house. If you suspect dehydration, take Fido to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Do Not Leave Your Dog in a Warm Car
All it takes is 10 short minutes for the temperature inside a parked vehicle to rise about 20 degrees. If the outside temperature is 70, the inside temperature will soon be 89 degrees. If it’s 85 outside, it’s going to be 104 inside. An environment that hot could cause your dog to have heat stroke, or die. Don’t take the chance with your best buddy’s life. Never leave Fido in the dangerously hot interior of your parked car or truck.
Take Care With Paws
When surfaces such as pavement, asphalt or metal are too hot, a dog’s paws can sustain burns. You can test the surface yourself: Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds, you can consider it too hot for walking with Fido. If you see redness or blisters, or if the pads look darker in color than normal, you should take your dog to the vet for treatment.
Steer Clear of Toxic Plants
Certain kinds of plants can be poisonous to dogs. The list, which you can get from the ASPCA, includes daisies, azaleas, lilies and chrysanthemums. Consuming part of one of these plants may result in diarrhea, but your dog could also experience heart failure or even die.
Watch Your Dog Around Water
Many kinds of dogs love the water, including Labs and retrievers. But like children, dogs sometimes find themselves in a dangerous situation. Make sure your dog can get out of the water; be there if Fido needs help. Make sure you never leave your best buddy unattended while in the water.
Be Careful in the Sun
You may not realize this, but your canine buddy can actually get sunburned. It can be painful and lead to itching and peeling. To help your service dog avoid this uncomfortable condition, apply a sunscreen that is safe for babies and four-footed friends.
Avoid Proximity to Fireworks
Your proud, capable pet may have the distinction of a listing in the service dog registry, but fireworks, like thunder, really scare some dogs. They can be frightened by the loud noises, as well as the bright flashes of light. If you want to go to a fireworks show, and your dog is with you, stay as far away from the action as you can.
Understand Barbecue Issues
A young dog, especially, seems to delight in an outdoor gathering, whether it involves a camp fire or a barbecue. Just make sure that your buddy doesn’t lick the hot grill or pick up a hot stick. Keep Fido away from lighter fluid as well, because it is poisonous to dogs.
Be Aware of Allergic Reactions
If your dog is spending a good deal of time scratching, licking or chewing, an allergy may be the cause. With much time spent outdoors in the summer, Fido might be affected by molds, pollens, trees or grasses. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate treatment, such as an antihistamine, vaccine or even a special shampoo.
You and your service dog are partners. If you take good care of your best buddy through the hot summer days, your best buddy will be sure to reciprocate.