Moby would like to remind all his canine friends and canine parents that summertime means more outdoor activities, which translates to loads of fun for fur babies. However, it also means fleas, ticks, overheating, and dehydration. Follow this helpful guide to ensure you have all the tips and tools to keep the dog days of summer rolling on a happy and fun-filled note.
1)Check for ticks after hiking or walking in areas with weeds/plant life. Ticks can often be spotted on blades or reeds of grass/weeds as they’re usually darker in color than brown/yellow, dry vegetation. Use your fingers to carefully check the top, sides, and under sides of your canine. I recommend a flea/tick brush to brush under the neck/skin folds and right where the base of the tail joins the back since this is a common area fleas like to hang out. A flea comb or brush also allows you to find dark flea dirt, which may be otherwise hard to see on darker colored dogs.
This flea comb is handy when clipped onto your backpack with a carabiner so you don’t forget to comb your dog for fleas/ticks after outdoor activity.
2)Effortless flea and tick protection. Moby always wears his Seresto Flea and Tick collar because frequent baths and swimming may dilute liquid flea/tick treatment such as Frontline applied directly onto the skin. To get around this, a Seresto Flea and Tick collar from Bayer is a great alternative because it can be easily removed. Best of all, it doesn’t make Moby’s skin itchy like Frontline and Advantix. It’s also waterproof so pool-friendly (frequent swimming with collar on does reduce the length of time the collar is potent and protects for–from 8 months to 6, so be sure to remove it temporarily when going for a dip).
I recommend saving the tin box and marking the month you began using the collar to know when to swap for a new one. Or, save a note to yourself on your calendar for 6-8 months down the line.
3)Water makes the fun last. This doesn’t just apply to intaking water, but also playing in and with it for many dark-color and thick-coat breed dogs. Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, and Bernese/Bernards overheat very easily, as most dogs are sensitive to heat as it is. This means clever ways to stay hydrated on the go are important! Here are some invaluable tools Moby uses to keep properly hydrated during summer months.
K9H2O bottles are great for hydrating your canine on the go. The secret is in the food-grade lid that unscrews from the stainless steel bottle to become a water bowl. Moby loves his, and it’s easy to clean (lid is dishwasher safe in the top rack).
But staying hydrated with sufficient water intake is only half the battle. What if your canine has so much fun he/she doesn’t want to drink very much water? In this case, every drop counts. Humans have Gatorade and Powerade, but for pets, these are not good solutions since they’re full of sugar or artificial sweeteners that may contain harmful chemicals.
The solution is pure electrolytes sourced from the Great Lakes, made in the USA. A few drops are enough to help your canine get re-hydrated.
Because dogs have an innate sense of what they need, Moby knows when he should have more potassium, zinc, chloride, magnesium, and sodium; keeping himself hydrated and healthy. This is in many ways less expensive than buying sugary sports drinks, and a few drops in your canine’s water bowl/cup makes it easy to pack and use. A great hydrating treat when your canine is hot is frozen treat cubes made with water and a few drops of Lyteshow electrolytes. This helps ward off heat exhaustion after outdoor activity when it’s hot.
As for staying cool, the simplest solution is a pump bottle mister. These provide long lasting, natural cooling. Use filtered or safe to drink tap water that’s safe for misting your canine’s mouth as this is one of their main ways of cooling off (through exhale and exchange of internal, hot air).
Ruffwear makes a cooling jacket that canine parents can douse with water to keep their dog cool. However, in my experience, if your pup is going to be wet and soggy anyways, why not save the $60 and just use a less expensive, simpler, but more effective solution–a mister bottle like the one shown above.
Cooling jackets are expensive, bulky and not as effective as a mister bottle.
3)Paw protection is another very important factor when venturing out during the hot summer months. The pavement and asphalt can be very, very hot, making walking on bare paws painful. Some dogs have even suffered burns to their paw pads due to the super heated ground. Although canine owners should never walk their dogs on hot surfaces, there are times when this is inevitable. Here’s some tools Moby uses to keep his paws cooler when he does need to walk short distances in the heat.
Musher’s Secret wax is actually used by sled dogs to keep their paws from being damaged by ice and snow. The same principle works on hot surfaces too as this all-natural tree derived substance coats the paw pads and individual toes. This is also great for damaged paws because it lubricates and coats. Because dogs are prone to licking their paws, Musher’s Secret is a great solution canine parents can feel safe relying on to protect their canine’s paws. Keep in mind Musher’s Secret is not for prolonged use on hot surfaces as paws may still heat up after prolonged walking!
If you have a very mellow, tolerant dog or have the time and patience to train your canine to wear dog shoes, then this is the best option for walking on hot surfaces. But keep in mind, if the surface is too hot to walk on, the radiating heat is usually too much for canines to handle anyways, which is a sign you and your fur buddy should stay home a bit til things cool off.
4)Add more water! Don’t forget these extras to spoil your pup when it’s hot out!
If air conditioning isn’t available and your pup needs to cool off, try taking a splash in a durable, hard plastic doggie pool. Do not buy a PVC/collapsible one since these do not tolerate canine claws very well. A few minutes of splashing in a doggie pool will cool off your canine and keep them happy!
What’s a pool without a pool toy? Try Chuckit’s HydroFreeze ball that you fill with water then freeze to create an ice ball! Fun to lick and paw around, this cool toy will help cool off your canine while giving him/her something fun to do.
These are tricks Moby has learned to cope with the hot, dog days of summer. If you have any additional tips, please share them below. Remember to keep your dog cool by providing lots of shade and water. Most importantly, never leave your dog in the sun or in a hot car as canines naturally run hotter than humans, and prolonged heat/sun can cause irreversible organ and brain damage. Have a safe and fun summer!