Fun in the Sun

Make Sure to Include Fido in Your Plans

Summertime is such a fun time for so many reasons. Family vacations, summer camps for the kids, play time in the pools or sprinklers, and late-night movie nights ensure there is always something to look forward to during the hottest months of the year. Let’s take a moment to help manage the summertime health for our pets as they travel and play in the water with us, or just enjoy the air conditioning, to pass the days.

First off, let’s think of EXTERNAL factors that are applying pressure to the health of our pets. The weather, parasites and the terrain can all bring concerns. Be sure to check the weather prior to spending time camping or hiking or just visiting your local parks. Bring water for your pet as well as yourself, or check to see if there are stops along the way, such as water fountains or streams. Use parasite control and prevention to keep your pet from acquiring fleas or ticks while playing in the park or on the trails.

There are also options to keep the flies and mosquitoes from biting your pet as they enjoy the evenings lounging at the campsite or by the pool. Remember, your pet is moving over the same gravel, dirt, rocks and asphalt as you. This means you need to make sure the concrete or asphalt is not too hot. And check those paws for sores or tenderness on a regular basis. Even though the external factors are outside of your control, you can still prepare for success with minimal effort.

The second thing to consider is the INTERNAL factors that can affect summertime pet health. Daily nutrition, exercise tolerance and metabolic health can all contribute to the summertime health of your pet as well as their ability to endure and even excel in the stress of summer heat and irregular family schedules.

Make sure your pet is eating a balanced diet. I recommend measuring the amount of food and staying consistent with feeding times as the optimum ways to provide nutrition for your pet. Knowing how often your pet goes for walks or runs and how far they can manage is important to keep your pet healthy. If you are planning on summer hikes or camping trips, it is a good idea to slowly build your pet's endurance and tolerance in the months ahead of the trip before embarking on an epic journey unprepared. If your goal is to walk the neighborhood each day, just remember it may be of benefit to take your pet early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat during the midday.

Metabolic health is a bit more complicated, though just as important to the summertime health of the pet. Discussing with your veterinarian any changes in your pet’s routine may help uncover some underlying metabolic malfunctions before they progress any further. These changes can be as minor as appetite and energy fluctuations, or as complicated as changes in bathroom habits or consistency and social interactions within the family. Just remember, internal things are generally better by following a regular routine day to day thus allowing you to notice any changes in that routine that may need further investigation.

The third thing to help manage summertime pet health is LIFESTYLE. I’d like to offer some suggestions here to help with general health of your pet.

Get them a bath and haircut if you can; it will make them feel great and also help you to manage the concerns of parasites and skin health. Buy a new collar and leash; even consider a harness to use when taking your pet for walks. These come in all sorts of sizes and designs and can make walking your pet and including them in gatherings easier for everyone.

Call ahead to any places you may be visiting or staying and ask about the pet policies; this can save time and headaches. Make sure you have supplies for your pet like food, bowls, sleeping mats, trash bags, parasite preventions, medications, a first aid kit, etc. Lastly, include your pet in family time; this will enhance the lives of all involved.

Finally, visit your veterinarian. Discuss with them your plans. Ask for their recommendations about any concerns. Manage your pet’s health as a team. Summertime brings fun and excitement. Taking care of your pet’s health is an investment that will bring about memories that will last a lifetime.

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