BEING CAUTIOUS IS COOL THIS SUMMER

Picture yourself on a sweltering summer day in a long winter coat. Are you hot yet? Are you itchy or thirsty? Are you desperately searching for shade?

Now picture your dogs on that same summer day. And you’ll have some idea of how THEY feel.

Protecting them from the hot sun, hot air and hot ground is essential to keeping them safe outside. All it requires is common sense and some advance planning.

Here are some suggestions:

For dogs with particularly thick or heavy coats, have a groomer lightly trim them back.

Guard against sunburn by applying either a child’s SPF 45 sun block or a specially formulated animal sunscreen to the tips of your dog’s ears, the nose and the belly.

Whether on a porch, patio or lawn, create a shaded area using planters or shrubbery.

Set up a makeshift canopy using a blanket draped across two chairs.

Limit your dog’s outdoor exercise.

Take your walks early in the morning or when the sun is setting. If the day’s particularly hot and humid, forego your walks altogether.

Turn on a garden sprinkler and let your dog run through it or fill a specially constructed doggy pool with water for him to lie in or splash about in.

Keep your dog’s water bowl filled, cool, and free of floating debris.

Avoid hot asphalt, which can quickly burn the pads of your dog’s paws. Place the back of your hand on the sidewalk or road pavement. If you can’t keep your hand there for seven seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog.

Wherever possible, walk your dog on the grass instead.

NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car. Whether in the shade with the windows cracked or with the motor running and the air conditioning on, your car can become a deathtrap within minutes.

Watch your dog for signs of heat exhaustion. Because dogs don’t sweat, their only way of cooling down is by panting or releasing heat through their paws.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include exaggerated panting, excessive salivation, a vacant expression, restlessness or listlessness, trembling, and skin that’s hot to the touch.

If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, get him into the shade as quickly as possible. Give him cool water to drink and either hose him down, cover him with cool, damp cloths or put him in a bathtub filled with cool water.

If your dog’s condition worsens, seek immediate medical attention.

To be a responsible pet owner is to be an informed pet owner.

The list of safety rules may seem long, but the hot days of summer are even longer.

 

The Many Why’s of Rescue

image of doxie

Why adopt a rescue pup or dog? Why not buy one from an ad on the Internet or from a pet store? Why not buy one from a breeder? There are many reasons — all of them humane.

The growth of the Internet has spurred the growth of ads selling pets. But it also provides anonymity to a more insidious growth: that of puppy mills and so-called “backyard” breeders. It helps them avoid accountability when they sell unhealthy or mistreated pets to unsuspecting, over-eager buyers. And it only serves to confirm the axiom: “buyer beware.”

Each time a dog is bought from an ad on the Internet, a homeless dog is left without a home.

Many pet stores rely on both puppy mills and “backyard” breeders. Like the Internet, they rely on impulse buying. A child ogles a playful puppy through a pane of glass, and that old song, “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?” begins. Few parents can refuse the insistent “Please! Please! Please!” of their children.

Each time a puppy is bought from a pet store, a surrendered dog languishes in a shelter.

There may be thousands of legitimate breeders throughout the country but there are just as many unscrupulous ones. There are no laws regulating who can and cannot breed. There are no inspections of their facilities. Even a certificate from a recognized kennel club means only that the breeder has “agreed” to its code of ethics. A piece of paper is simply that: a piece of paper.

Each time a dog is bought from an unscrupulous breeder, an abandoned dog moves closer to death in a pound.

Why, then, adopt a rescue dog?

There are tens of thousands of healthy, happy, and balanced dogs available from thousands of rescue organizations across the country. Contrary to popular belief, they include purebreds as well as crossbreeds and mixed breeds. And for people intent on a specific breed, there are rescue groups devoted exclusively to a single breed of dog.

Adopting a rescue dog is saving that dog’s life. Rescue organizations are usually the last refuge for abandoned and abused dogs, surrendered and senior dogs. They are often a dog’s only escape from a puppy mill, shelter, or pound. These rescued dogs are placed in loving and experienced, volunteer foster homes, where they are socialized with people and other animals.

They are spayed or neutered, de-wormed, updated on all of their vaccinations and microchipped. They receive whatever veterinary care they need, and are either trained or re-trained before being put up for adoption. And everything is included in the rescue’s modest adoption fees.

It is said that saving a dog makes that dog doubly grateful. By extension, then, anyone who saves a dog will be doubly blessed.

What better reasons could there be to adopt?