It’s a magical image that warms our hearts: Summer fun with our dogs! But how can we best keep dogs safe as we frolic with them in Maine’s glorious parks, hiking trails, beaches, and campsites? Here’s how to keep dogs safe during the dog days of summer.
It’s Cool to Keep Dogs Cool
The hot summer sun may feel wonderful after a long winter, but it can pose a special danger to your four-pawed friend. This is especially true if your dog has a short head and snout, such as Pekingese, Boxers, and Bulldogs, which have a particularly difficult time in summer heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-nosed dogs. But no matter the breed, make sure your dog has a shady spot to be in outside, or keep her inside where it’s cooler. NEVER leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a parked car or truck can reach 100 degrees in just 20 minutes. Finally, think hydration-hydration-hydration. ALWAYS have plenty of cool, fresh water available for your dog.
Check in with Your Dog Doc
During summer your dog will be outside a lot more, so it’s important you make sure all her shots and vaccinations are up-to-date, and that she’s had any necessary “preventatives” against fleas, ticks, black flies, and mosquitoes that can carry heartworm. Also remember to keep your furry friend off lawns that recently have been fertilized or treated with chemicals, and away from toxic plants and flowers.
A Word About the Water
If your dog loves to swim, by all means let her. It’s big fun for her—and usually for us humans watching her! But consider putting her in a dog vest, and don’t let her overdo it. Even for a dog in good shape, swimming can be hard work, and she may tire quickly. This is especially critical to keep in mind if your dog is swimming in the ocean or an ocean inlet, where you must be particularly careful of strong tides. Finally, never leave your dog unattended in water.
A Special Word about Coronavirus and Dogs
This year has posed a significant threat to humans from the pandemic, so many dog owners have wondered how safe their dogs are from coronavirus. According to the Center for Disease Control as reported by the American Kennel Club, the answer is, basically, “no worries.” Or, at least, very few worries. But health authorities are continuing to look into this issue, so be sure to follow the CDC’s most recent coronavirus guidelines regarding the pet you love.