July 4th is often the official "kick-off" of summer. Including your pet in many of your activities can be fun for everyone involved, but be sure to take precautions where necessary.
Parades, barbecues, family gatherings and fireworks are the hallmarks of our Independence Day celebrations. But, be aware that fireworks are frightening to many dogs. When dogs panic from firework noise, they often run and many dogs have been lost this way. Be sure to keep your pet on a lead or keep her/him indoors.
Just as you would keep an eye on small children, be aware of where your pet is and what s/he is doing when you are at gatherings. Whether you're in the backyard, at the beach or someplace else enjoying a lazy day of summer, don't let your pet get too close to the grill or fire pit. Avoid gastrointestinal emergencies by keeping your pet away from charcoal and discarded food items such as fish or sparerib bones, pits from fruit (including avocado), corn cobs, skewers and garbage in general.
If you and your furry buddy are out in the car and you need to stop at a store, NEVER leave your pet in the car. Even though some people don't think temperatures in the 80s feel too warm; in an enclosed, sunny space such as a vehicle, the temperature can reach over 110 degrees in just 10 minutes. This can cause heat-stress or heat stroke in a pet, which can lead to death.
If you see an animal locked in a vehicle in a parking lot, intervention may be necessary. Try to locate the owner of the car through the store or restaurant's paging system or contact the police to free the animal.
As the weather starts to get warmer, pets with long hair and/or thick fur should have it trimmed. Pets with thick fur and an undercoat are especially susceptible to overheating in temperatures that may seem mild to most humans. Their coat traps the warm air, which is ideal in the winter, but during the summer, it can quickly cause overheating.
Grooming is key to your pet's comfort during the warm weather.
Dog breeds sporting thick fur include German Shepherd, Newfoundland, Poodle, Chow Chow, Akita, Sheepdog, Corgi and Great Pyrenees. Cat breeds that have abundant coats include Norwegian Forest Cat, Himalayan and Persian.
In humid weather, dogs with long-haired coats (even if the fur is more silky than thick) may develop an offensive musty odor and should be bathed/groomed regularly.
Having your pet groomed regularly also helps to cut down on the shedding so you'll find fewer fur balls and less hair around the house. Although, some breeds such as the poodle, don't shed at all, so regular grooming is a must for them.
Take a moment to schedule a series of regular grooming appointments at the start of the season to best ensure your pet's comfort throughout what is sure to be a long, hot summer.
As we humans know, a great haircut can make all the difference!
P.S. Don't forget to protect your pet from mosquitoes, black flies, fleas and other annoying pests by using flea and tick treatment regularly. It's easier to prevent problems than to treat after the fact.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions from both animal professionals and pet parents about whether or not dogs need to wear a sweater or coat outdoors when it's cold.
Generally speaking, unless your dog is running the Iditarod (and is not a Siberian Husky) s/he does not necessarily need to "suit up". Most dog breeds have a coat that suits them in any type of weather and the addition of pet apparel may in fact cause them to overheat.
But, there are exceptions. Older dogs, greyhounds and small dogs (especially those with very short/smooth coat such as mini-dachshunds) do get chilly as the temperature drops, and you'll be able to tell because they tend to shiver. A good rule of thumb regarding whether or not your pooch needs to wear winter apparel is to simply check their comfort level when they are outdoors. Shivering is your best indicator. If your pooch doesn't seem at all fazed by the cold or snow, then s/he is already adequately "dressed" for the weather in her/his own coat.
ZG pro team