In the dog days of summer, your dog just wants to play outside! Lucky for him, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the season.
- Swimming - Many dogs love the water, and a wading pool is a great way to let him beat the heat. Also think about dog parks in your town with lakes where your dog can play fetch and swim.
Some dogs are afraid of the water, or only want to wade, so don't force your dog in if he hesitates. But if he's jumping in and perfecting his doggie-paddle, let him enjoy the water. Just be sure to watch for excessive head shaking and ear scratching after the dip. This could be the sign of an ear infection. Make sure your dog can easily get out of the water. Rinse his coat of chlorine when swim time is over, and dry his coat completely to the skin.
- Hiking - If your athletic dog is up for a hike, go for it. Just be aware that trails can be taxing on your dog's paws and overall physical abilities. Try short hikes at first, and gradually lengthen your treks. Remember to stop for rest and water frequently. Ticks carry diseases, so talk to your veterinarian about appropriate ways to prevent them from biting your dog.
Whether your dog lives outside or has the chance to explore only now and then, here are tips to ensure he stays safe.
- Provide plenty of fresh water and make sure he has a shaded place to nap and stay cool.
- Check his paws often, as tar from hot pavement can become embedded between the pads.
- Clear your yard of plants that are poisonous to dogs.
- Keep vaccinations current. Wildlife is very active in the summer, and bites can be dangerous for your dog. If your dog is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately.
- Give your dog a collar and tags with your phone number in case he likes to explore too far from home.