I’ve compiled a list of ways for the whole family to discover new local adventures, try new things at home, and protect your pooch during these hot summer days! For each bucket list item, I’ve included few small tips to help keep your four-legged-baby healthy, happy, tail wagging, and hopefully out of the veterinary office. For dogs, the heat AND the humidity pose a dangerous threat during the summer. Heatstroke is a condition in dogs where they become overheated and cannot regulate their body temperature. As a veterinarian, I hope all pet parents know about heatstroke because it is avoidable. But if it happens, identifying the signs and acting quickly can save your pet’s life.
Explore The Great Outdoors
Kirkwood has so many amazing parks. Check out a few of my favorites:
Greentree Park, Emmenegger Nature Park, Treecourt Unleashed Dog Adventure Park (pre-registration required via website).
Check the temperature of the pavement. Place your palm on the pavement and hold it for 3 seconds – if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pet’s paw pads. Choose a route on the grass or shaded trail instead of a paved walkway.
Make a Splash at Home
Not all dogs are great swimmers. Get creative! Fill up a kiddy pool on the deck, run through the sprinkler in the backyard, or check out dog-tested-and-approved splash pads that easily hook up to your hose.
Always introduce the safe entrance and safe exit to the pool. Use treats to guide them to the exit from different parts of the pool so they know how to get out safely.
Plan a Relaxing SPAW Day
Dogs love to be pampered too! Kirkwood has many wonderful professional groomers and do-it-yourself dog wash stations.
Choose a pet-specific gentle shampoo or my favorite option, tear-free baby shampoo. Avoid using dish soap as it is overly drying and strips natural oils from the skin. Dry your pet’s fur thoroughly and wipe out their earflaps with soft cotton (never Q Tips) to help prevent skin and ear infections from developing.
Patio Dinner Date
Check out these local restaurants that offer dog-friendly patio dining; Cafe Provencal, Billy G's, 612 Kitchen and Cocktails, Kaldi's Coffee House, Mike Duffy's, PJ's Tavern, One 19 North, Sunset 44 Bistro, Global Brew, Frisco Barroom, Llywelyn's Pub, Weber's Front Row, The Barn, Boardwalk Cafe - and so many more.
Avoid sharing bites of your meal with your pet as some foods are dangerous, and prepared/seasoned/fried foods can be too rich and cause tummy upset.
Invite the neighborhood dogs over for this simple 3-ingredient recipe.
Ingredients: cubed watermelon, plain Greek yogurt, honey
Step 1: Combine cubed watermelon, plain yogurt, and a drizzle of honey in a blender or food processor to purée.
Step 2: Pour mixture into silicone ice cube trays and freeze for 2 hours or until set.
Step 3: Pop out of the tray and enjoy!
Unsafe foods to avoid – Xylitol containing sugar-free products like sugar-free peanut butter, grapes, raisins, avocados, onions, garlic, chocolate, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. If your pet consumes any of these products contact your veterinarian.
Unlike humans, dogs cannot rely on sweating to cool down because they only have a few sweat glands in their paw pads. Dogs rely on panting to dissipate body heat. If a dog's natural cooling systems become overwhelmed, heatstroke can quickly progress into an emergency life-threatening situation.
· Move animal indoors or to a cool shaded area
· Offer small amounts of cool (NOT COLD) water to drink
· Direct a fan on your pet to provide a cool breeze
· Soak fur on the body, especially on paw pads and with cool (NOT COLD) running water
· Place cool towels on hairless areas of tummy
Visit Dr. Abigail Owens at www.veterinarygroup.net for more helpful tips.