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Summer Safety Tips for the Four-Leggers

Ashley Farrugia adopted Mulligan from TAGS in May 2011 and enjoys spending lots of time outdoors with him. Here she shares some tips for keeping a dog healthy and happy in our summer weather.

This summer we have had quite a few days of the mercury rising over 30 degrees Celsius. While it is easier for us humans to keep cool (after all, we have sweat glands and can go to the fridge or freezer to get a cool treat whenever we want), what about our fur babies?

Mulligan’s yearly appointment was in March, and since Chris and I are very active in the summer and we take Mulligan everywhere we can, I asked the vet for some summer safety and first aid tips so that Mulligan can have a great summer too! Here are some of the tips he gave us:*

  1. If your dog gets bit by a horsefly, deerfly, or mosquito and is prone to swelling, you can give your dog 1 mg of Benadryl (in capsule or tablet form) per pound of body weight. Liquid Benadryl contains alcohol, so you want to avoid that. Dogs with certain medical conditions shouldn’t be given Benadryl, though, so talk to your vet first.
  2. Just like in the winter, dogs’ paws can split or become cracked—they don’t get to wear shoes on the hot pavement! So keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort when walking with your dog.
  3. Swimming or being in the water frequently at a pool or in a lake does not necessarily cool dogs down. Watch for warning signs of heatstroke—panting, licking the lips, and a tongue that is practically on the floor. It may be time to let your dog have a well-deserved “time out” inside where it is cool.
  4. Keep fresh water available at all times!
  5. Use clear Polysporin to help keep a surface cut from becoming infected.
  6. Believe it or not, dogs can get sunburned. Make sure there is a shady spot for your dog to lie down in if he or she is going to spend the day out in the sun.
Above all, please do not leave your dog in the car with the window cracked open when you run into a store! If you can, leave your dog in a nice, cool place——like home. When leaving your dog at home is not an option, make sure you pull over every few hours to let your dog stretch and have some cold water. If you’re travelling with another person and have to make a quick stop, opt to have someone stay in the car with the dog.

Some of Mulligan’s favourite ways to beat the heat are

  • eating frozen watermelon cubes made by his mom (that would be me) 
  • eating the waves at the cottage (I mean this literally————he will be frolicking in the water and see a wave coming, so he will open his mouth and go headfirst into it. He always looks quite happy that he has got some of the wave in his mouth!)
  • going on very early morning and late evening walks (5 to 6 a.m. with me and 9 to 10 p.m. with Chris)

* I am not a vet, so please contact your vet prior to administering any medication to your pet. Also, as a dog lover, I am very passionate and have strong opinions about leaving a dog in the car. These are just my thoughts.



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