The Dog Days of Summer Part 1

The dog days of summer are upon us! It’s the perfect time of year to incorporate some extra activities into your pet’s schedule. The warmer weather and longer daylight hours offer additional time outside. When planning vacations, weekend getaways, or even weeknight outings, now’s a great time to include activities that are pet-friendly. Try these tips and share in an active summer with your four-legged friends.

DOG BEACHES/Water Play
If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to the coastline this summer consider bringing your dog to the beach. Most dogs, particularly outgoing breeds like retrievers and spaniels love to swim in the ocean! If you’re nervous about letting Fido loose in the vast aquatic beyond that surrounds our country, start off with a short leash and let him wade in the baby waves and move slowly on to greater depths.  If you can’t get to the surf, a small plastic kiddie pool can be just as refreshing without the tumult of waves or the mess of sandy fur! Remember though, just because a dog is wet doesn’t mean he still won’t be thirsty. This much activity combined with the heat from the beach will necessitate for him larger amounts of drinking water.

Safety Tips:

  • ALWAYS supervise your dog. You can even find doggie life vests in most pet stores for some extra peace of mind!
  • If you are unsure how your dog will react to the water, make sure to bring him to a controlled environment first. An enclosed pool area can be great, and for smaller dogs, your bath tub can also provide a great training experience.
  • Chemicals and dirt in the water can be harmful to your dog’s coat and health, so you should always give your dog a bath after you return home. If there is a shower facility at the beach, pool or lake, you may even want to give him a good rinse before you leave.
  • Drying your dog’s ears after swimming can help prevent ear infections.

Websites which chronicle lists of many dog-friendly beaches in the US:
General US: http://www.petfriendlytravel.com/dog_beaches
California:  http://www.totalescape.com/active/animals/dogs/beaches.html
Life Jackets, etc. for your dog:  http://www.cabelas.com/vests-boots.shtml

 GO FOR A HIKE:

Getting out in the great outdoors is a thrill for dogs – everywhere they turn, there’s something to sniff, look at or maybe even chase. Hit the trails with him for an active outing that’s refreshing, healthy and fun. It’s important to be well-supplied for hikes. Be sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your canine companion. Hiking can be hard work, so be sure your dog is physically up to the task. If you have any doubts, contact your veterinarian. Remember to build up to long hikes, just like you would for yourself.If you are going on a long hike, you may want to bring a small first aid kit with you, just in case.Be aware that your dog has tender paws, so try to avoid rough terrain, such as sharp rocks or dense underbrush. Be sure to use precautions against ticks and fleas, and check your dog when you get home.Consider inviting other friends and their balanced dogs along. A group hike is safer and more fun!

There are a number of off leash dog parks and hiking areas.  Me and my dog Sam love Runyon Canyon, Fryman Canyon and Tree People for hiking.

Check here for a list of Los Angles off-leash Dog Parks:

TAKE YOUR DOG TO LUNCH OR TO COFFEE:

Explore new neighborhoods. Most people and pets have a well-worn path on their neighborhood walks, so why not switch up the scenery? Stray off the usual route, or drive somewhere different to go for a stroll. Try to find dog-friendly business districts that encourage visitors to bring pets along. Many restaurants and coffee shops with outdoor dining areas will let your dog join you as long as they don’t enter the restaurant and are well-behaved. Bring some treats along, this is a great opportunity to practice your down/stay!

TAKE YOUR DOG ON YOUR FAMILY VACATION:

A great way to include your pooch for a weekend away is to camp. Most campsites allow leashed dogs and just like you, your dog will be delighted and rejuvenated with the new scenery. He’ll want to spend plenty of time sniffing all the new smells around. Take him for a hike or swim during the days to help drain his energy so he’s ready to rest by the fire at night with you. Pack food and water for him to avoid upsetting his stomach or having him drink tainted water. If you have to hike into your camp, you can have him carry in his own supplies in a doggy backpack.

Not the outdoorsy type check out a pet friendly hotel at Pets Welcome.com

SPECIAL DOG EVENTS:

Another idea is to look into venues and events near you that cater to our four-legged companions. Ball fields, movie theaters, museums and other local places will sometimes hold special days they dedicate to allowing dog lovers and their dogs to enjoy the day together. During summer there are usually at least a few dog-related events like fairs or races in most areas.

Burbank for example has a special day when the public pool is open for dogs to swim check it out at : Doggie Splash

Petco Park also has a bring your dog to the game night. Check it out at: Petco Park

OTHER HOT WEATHER SAFETY TIPS:

Never leave a dog in a parked car on a warm day. It’s a simple message that every dog owner should remember. This past weekend a Chocolate Lab passed away after being left alone in a car for over two hours. A sad wake-up call to pet owners everywhere.

It only takes minutes for the temperature in a stationary car to climb above 100ºF  which would be uncomfortable for any human. Since most of us aren’t covered head to toe in fur – imagine yourself wrapped in a sweater, unable to sweat. The heat becomes unbearable.

Dogs don’t have the same temperature control functions that we have. They can’t sweat like we do. They can only alleviate warmth by panting or releasing small amounts of heat through their paws. Without air circulation or water, there’s no way to escape the heat. Again, never leave a dog in a parked car when the weather is warm, if your not sure if it is too warm don’t leave your dog!


To beat the heat, and to prevent distress, PETA has a few pointers:

  • If you see a dog in a car and in distress, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license-plate number, have the owner paged inside nearby stores, and call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog. If police are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back your assessment, take steps to remove the suffering animal, and then wait for authorities to arrive.
  • Don’t carry your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. This is always dangerous, but the heat brings the added danger of burning the dog’s feet on the hot metal.
  • Don’t take your dog jogging—except on cool mornings or evenings—and don’t force exercise.
  • On long walks, rest often and take plenty of water. Hot pavement can burn dogs’ paws; choose shady, grassy routes.
  • Trim heavy-coated dogs’ fur, but leave an inch for protection against insects and sunburn. Keep an eye on areas where hair is thin, like eyelids, ears, and nose as they can get sunburned.
  • Keep your dog indoors. If he or she must stay outside for long, avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Provide shade, water, and a kiddie pool if possible. Keep drinking water in an anchored bucket or a heavy bowl that won’t tip over.
  • Be a watchdog for chained dogs. Make sure that they have food, water, and shelter. If you see a dog in distress, contact humane authorities. Give the dog immediate relief by providing water.

Have a safe and fun summer everyone!!!

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