The dreaded Dog Days of Summer, the beginning of July through the first week of August, is known for its hot and humid temperatures. Many people try to cater a little extra to our furry family members during this time, trying to add a level of comfort to what we take on as our responsibility to them… and rightfully so.

This is the time of year when grooming spikes. Many think that less fur is better, and that is true to an extent. Do not, however, shave your pet! A short cut is welcomed, as long as you use sunscreen….yes, sunscreen. Your pet’s skin is very sensitive to the sun. think of it as you wearing a hoodie all year and then one day taking your shirt off in the middle of the Caribbean. You will get fried like there is no tomorrow, and so will your pooch.

Make sure this time of year has ample fresh water, as dehydration in dogs and cats is a real possibility during the heat, even if the animal stays indoors most or all of the time. And for the pets who go on daily walks, you need to be mindful of the times of day their exercise is scheduled for. Pay attention to the hottest times of the day and adjust accordingly. While on the walk, especially if you live in a neighborhood and the walk is on pavement or concrete, it is very important to protect your dog’s paws and keep them cool. Again, consider walking in bare feet on the sunbaked road, not very pleasant is it? Also, during walks pay very close attention to parasites picked up in the grass and weeds. Ticks are rampant at this time of year and can cause a ton of problems for your pet, as well as anyone else in the house if it comes in on fido’s back.

Normal pet care and common sense should be heightened during the hot days of summer. Obviously, don’t leave your pet in the car or even outside unattended and if you are away from home, leave the air conditioner on or a fan on with a window open for them.

Summer is also a time of general caution. People are treating their lawns with chemicals, spraying flower beds and gardens with insecticides and treating backyards for mosquitos and ticks. Any of these can prove very harmful, even fatal for your pet if they get into it.

Finally, use safety with your pet, especially if you take them to water with the intention of cooling off. Yes, dogs swim… some better than others, but some are not as young and active as they once were. Be safe and get a life vest for them, it may be a little uncomfortable at first, but they will be much better with it than without.

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