LOS ANGELES — Ready for your dog’s days of summer?
Everybody seems to have a list of tips.
This file photo shows a mixed-breed dog getting a cooling shower at the Sepulveda Dog Park in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles.
Most are no-brainers. Don’t leave dogs in hot cars or let them walk on hot asphalt, play too hard or get too much sun. Apply flea and tick repellents, and if you’re in a mosquito-prone area, talk to your veterinarian about heartworm prevention pills. Take dogs on walks early or late to avoid midday heat and provide ample drinking water.
But there are other risks that come with heat, vacations and outdoor play. Here are some ways to keep dogs healthy and comfortable this summer, with tips from veterinarian Louise Murray, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City.
A dog’s coat is like insulation, warding off cold in the winter and heat in the summer. Trim, but don’t give your dog a crew cut or such a close shave that it takes away that protection.
Dogs get sunburn and skin cancer, so never cut fur shorter than an inch. (In some breeds, even an inch is too short.)
Dogs shed more in summer, so brush to get rid of extra fur along with fur that’s matted from water play.
Most pets find cool, shady spots to lie down, but some, especially animals that are overweight or can’t tolerate heat, might benefit from cooling beds, mats or vests.
The mats get filled with water, which mixes with a high-tech gel to create a cool, waterbed-like cushion. Consumer reviews are generally positive but caution that some beds spring leaks (or are chewed by dogs).
No food will keep your dog cooler, but food helps keep body temperature up, so dogs may not need to eat as much in the
If your dog stays at a dog-friendly hotel with you or at a kennel, consider bringing food from home. A change in diet can cause diarrhea.
Barbecues and picnics are a veterinarian’s nightmare. Keep pets in the house or on a leash to prevent them from being fed or lapping up things that are bad for them, whether it’s spilled alcohol or onion dip. Onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and chocolate are the most toxic foods for dogs.
Dogs can get carsick if they’re not used to
driving, so go for small trips before a road trip.