For most of the United States, the weather is still approaching the hottest time of the year. So it’s a great time to get outside and have some fun in the sun – and if you are lucky that means pools, beaches and traveling. Hopefully you get to bring along your four-legged best friend to add to the frolicking – but keep in mind, our fur babies have special considerations that are important for keeping them safe.
Every Summer we are reminded of important steps to keep our pups cool as the temperature rises, but even more than keeping them cool we have to keep them safe around circumstances that they are not necessary familiar with. And just because dogs are natural swimmers, there are steps you need to take if you are going to have them in and around water that you might not be aware of.
Here are some of important items to think about to ensure your pup is safe as you embark on Summer fun.
Some dogs will jump right into a pool with reckless abandon. However, others may be more timid and need some time to get used to the idea. Make sure you take the time to acclimate your dog to the idea of a swimming pool which can take up to two weeks. Here are some tips for making it a better experience for everyone:
- Introduce your dog to the area around the pool.
- Never force your dog into the pool.
- Use treats to lure and encouragement to make it a fun experience.
- Once your dog is comfortable around the pool, try to lure them onto the first step using a high value treat or favorite toy.
- The best situation is that your dog makes the decision to come into the pool on their own
- Allow them to come in and out of the pool on their own accord.
- Make it FUN & cheer them on!
- Once your dog is OK in the water, encourage them in further with the high value treat.
- Be positive and upbeat so they think it’s a game.
- Make sure you take them in and out where the steps are numerous times so they learn where the exit is.
There’s nothing better than the idea of taking a leisurely stroll along the beach (or running if you are that ambitious) with your dog at your side. But the beach can actually be a little overwhelming for dogs at first and can certainly be laden with some safety concerns. Here are some of the ways you can have a successful visit to the sand:
- Keep initial visits to the beach short until they get used to the sand
- Pay attention to beach dog rules and follow them at all times
- Keep your dog on a leash for safety and use a favorite toy or high value treat.
- As soon as those paws hit the sand, deliver the treat to give them that first good impression.
- Play with them and keep them busy – perhaps a game of fetch. If you don’t give them something to chase they will find something…like birds.
- As always, remember to cheer them on.
Traveling in the Summer
If you happen to be flying this summer and taking your dog along for the ride, make sure to follow these travel tips before your flight:
- Try to travel in the morning
- No food or water four hours before departing
- Multiple potty breaks before getting to the airport
- Keep the dog on the floor or in a crate safely in the cabin and/or with a seat belt harness
If you will be heading out on the water, it’s important to treat your dog just like any other passenger on a boat. Make sure to keep these safety tips in mind:
- Use a life jacket for safety, even if your dog knows how to swim
- Make sure you get them to land to stretch their legs often
- Have plenty of water available at all times. Fresh water, not lake or ocean water!
If you are simply taking a road trip, never ever leave your dog in a parked car. It doesn’t matter if it’s just for a few minutes or even parked in a shady area. The temperature in a car can exceed 160 degrees within minutes which is the equivalent of putting your dog in a microwave. When in doubt, leave your loveable pooch at home in the AC. Here is what you should do if you happen to see a dog in a hot car:
- Take down the car’s make, model and license-plate number.
- If you can, notify local business or call 311 in NYC
- Monitor the dog until help arrives
Other Summer Tips
Here are some other quick reminders that will help keep your dog safe in the Summer heat.
Always make sure that your dog has plenty of cool, fresh water available. If your dog doesn’t stay hydrated they can suffer from heat and kidney damage along with many other health problems. Signs of dehydration:
- Dry gums
- Sunken, darkened eyes
Call your vet months before you travel to make sure you’re taking all the preventative measures against fleas and ticks. Prevention is a fraction of the cost of intervention.
Three most common diseases from ticks:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Three most common diseases from fleas:
Remember, our dog is as much part of our family as anyone else and deserves the proper care and consideration. Taking them along on any outing can add to the fun unless you neglect to take the proper steps.
For more information and helpful tips visit www.greatestamericandogtrainers.com.
ABOUT TRAVIS BRORSEN
Travis Brorsen is one of the most sought after dog trainers in America today. Travis is Founder and CEO of Greatest American Dog Trainers, and is host of the new Animal Planet show, MY FAT PET, which premiers in Fall 2017. He is a regular contributor to both Dogster.com and DogingtonPost.com. Travis and his team of trainers at Greatest American Dog Trainers not only provide hands-on training and dog walking to their canine clients and their humans, but are also focused on helping pets become more holistically healthy, fit and happy. In 2008, Travis and his 14-month old, highly energetic and untrained boxer, Presley, won the grueling 12 week CBS’ national dog training competition, Greatest American Dog. As a result of the show, Travis discovered he had a passion to help other dogs and their owners create similar positive learning and relationship building experiences. Today, Travis and his Greatest American Dog Trainers team specializes in basic and advanced obedience, dog health and fitness training, as well as behavioral issues.