Good Dog Blog

Pet Sitter Thoughts: Dog Days of Summer

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Pet Sitter Tips

As we move into summer in Gwinnett and the surrounding areas, and the temperature rises, Good Dog Pet Sitters want you to know that with the increasing heat, so does the chance that your pet could experience heat related trauma such as heat stroke, burned foot pads and yes sunburn!

According to the American Red Cross Heat Stroke(Hyperthermia) and Heat Exhaustion occurs when a dog severely overheats-most commonly in the spring and summer months when the weather turns warm and the dog has not yet acclimated to it. Dogs don’t have sweat glands, so the only way they can dispel heat is by panting and through the pads of their feet. If you plan on taking your dog out during the spring and summer months make sure it has access to plenty of cool water and shade during these times. Hiring a professional to do a little dog walking during the day is always smart. Going to the dog park? Check out parks that offer areas of shade…Ronald Reagan Dog Park in Lilburn, GALenora Dog Park in Snellville, GA, Chattapoochee Dog Park in Duluth, GASettles Bridge Dog Park in Suwanee, GARabbit Hill Dog Park in Dacula, GA and Pinckneyville Dog Park in Norcross, GA. Hot pavement is hard to avoid in the heat of summer while dog walking. Asphalt, metal boat docks and car or truck surfaces get extremely hot in the summer sun as well. We remember to wear sandals, walk on the grass and not sit down on these surfaces in the heat of the day but what about our dogs? As a pet sitter I am acutely aware of how hot it can get out there in the midday sun. I am always looking for the coolest place for dog walking in our care and we stay off the pavement whenever possible. Look at your dogs pads, they seem pretty tough right? All footpads are made of fat, connective tissue and a thickened layer of skin. But the bottom line is they are exposed skin which of course can be burned and burned pads may not be readily apparent to the eye. If your dog is limping, refuses to walk, licks or chews at their feet or if you notice a darkening in color, blisters or redness these are all signs that their pads may be burned. Dog walking away from these surfaces as much as you can in the summer months. When dog walking keep to the grass as much as possible. It’s easier on the feet and softer on their joints as well. Sunburn affects all dogs, but particularly those that have little or no hair, light colored skin, pigmentation problems and short legs, as the sunlight reflects off the ground and burns the abdominal area of dogs that are close to it. Dogs are also susceptible to skin cancer, and areas of their bodies such as the nose, paw pads, groin, eyelids, tips of ears and inside of the legs need to be protected regularly against the sun. I regularly check my dog for any bumps, cuts, rashes, or hair loss, and keep her away from prolonged exposure to the sun. You can use a light weight T-shirt to protect the dog’s body if you plan on being out in the heat of the day. This will actually keep the dog cool as it will deflect the sun’s rays. Dab sunscreen on the exposed bridge of the dog’s nose, the tips of its ears and the belly and groin area that may not be covered by the clothing. Reapply regularly and after swimming. Use a sunscreen of SPF15 or more that is nontoxic to dogs, or one formulated for babies. These are more certain to be hypoallergenic and less likely to irritate the dog’s skin. Dog walking is best done in the early morning or evening time when it is dramatically cooler then midday. Dogs love to be a part of the action, so whatever you plan on doing this summer bring the dog, but remember to protect them from the dog days of summer!   Terie Hansen Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care may be reached at 404-422-9832 Consider a professional pet sitter for dog walking today!

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