Category Archives: summer safety

Pet Owners Beware of Wild Parsnip and Giant Hogweed

wild parsnip annieBy Linda Cole

Even though a lot of people have a difficult time identifying poison ivy, poison oak or sumac, the itchy rash that appears on the skin is well known. Wild parsnip and giant hogweed are two more toxic plants that can produce a reaction, but unlike poison ivy, these two plants contain a sap that can cause severe burn blisters on exposed skin. These are two plants pet owners should be able to identify.

Most of us haven’t the foggiest idea about the types of plants we encounter while hiking along a sunny trail or wandering through a field with a dog. Plants with pretty flowers seem safe and some people can’t resist picking a bouquet as they walk. Even if you don’t pick flowers, just walking through a patch of wild parsnip or giant hogweed can produce burns if your skin comes in contact with the sap. Pets are at risk if they run through a patch and get sap on their nose or in their eyes. It’s also possible for the juice to work its way down to the skin of short-haired dogs, and like poison ivy, if a dog or cat has sap on his coat he can transfer it to you if you pet him.

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5 Reasons Dogs Should Wear a Life Vest for Water Activities

dog lifejacket jenBy Linda Cole

Not all canines can swim, even some that are considered to be “water dogs.” Some breeds aren’t suited for swimming, and dogs with health issues, puppies and older canines can be put at risk. Boaters are required by law to provide a life vest for each person on board. A pet life vest is equally important if you take your dog with you on a boat or spend an afternoon swimming and playing at the beach or pool.

Boating is a fun summertime activity as long as everyone on board stays safe, including pets. Swimming can also pose a danger to dogs if the body of water has strong currents, like rivers or the ocean. Life vests can save lives. Here are five good reasons why your dog should wear a life vest when enjoying water activities.

Swimming Ability

Dog breeds bred to work in water have water resistant coats, webbed feet, and a tail that works like a rudder. Even though these breeds are comfortable in water and considered strong swimmers, they can still run into trouble in some circumstances, especially if they become fatigued. Dogs that have a large chest and small hindquarters are top heavy and not strong swimmers. Bulldogs, Boxers and Dachshunds have a hard time trying to stay afloat and are more apt to sink like a rock. Dogs with pushed-in noses and short-legged breeds tire easily.

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7 Tips for Exercising Your Dog in Hot Weather

dog exercise majaBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs need exercise even in the hot weather, but there are ways to do it that keep their comfort and safety in mind. Like us, dogs are affected by the extremes of weather. To prevent heat exhaustion and burned feet, follow these 7 tips for giving your dog exercise in hot weather.

Time of Day

Extreme heat is draining and physically stressful for most humans, and for our dogs too. Even if the heat is not bothersome to you, keep in mind that to cool off naturally, your dog does not sweat over their whole body the way you do.  Extreme temperatures are harder for them to deal with. Minimize exercise and activity in the hottest parts of the day. Walks and outside play are better in the early morning, late afternoon or evening, not in the middle of the hot day. Even if that midday lunch break is a great time and perfectly tolerable for you to go for a jog, it may not be for your dog. Do something different and go for a nighttime walk after dark on occasion, if you live in a safe area. You both might enjoy the change.

Cool Exercise Alternatives

Play in the water to give both you and your dog exercise and keep them cooler at the same time. Go for a swim, run through the sprinkler or go to the beach to keep active and cool at the same time. If you have the space, buy a small kiddie pool just for your dog to cool off. Put it somewhere in the yard where your dog can have access to it. Keep a big beach towel nearby to prevent your dog from running into the house soaking wet after playtime.

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7 Tips for Taking Your Dog to a Public Gathering

dog event evaBy Laurie Darroch

Even if your dog is very well trained, an outing to a crowded public gathering such as a flea market, outdoor concert or art festival can be a challenge with so many distractions and temptations. You can help make the event more fun and less stressful if you go prepared. First, you’ll need to make sure dogs are allowed where you are going, because you can’t leave your dog in the car if they aren’t permitted to join you at the event. Here are some tips for a successful outing with your four legged friend.

Food and Treats

Feed your dog before the outing, particularly if there will be food served there. Your dog will be less likely to beg for food or bother people who have it if they are already full. Even a very well trained dog gets tempted sometimes when there are so many intriguing smells and so many people with food milling around.

Bring along some CANIDAE dog biscuits in case you need to encourage good behavior while you are out and about.  If you keep some handy, you can reinforce any social training you may be doing with your dog as well.

Leash Up!

Many public places or gatherings require that all dogs be on a leash. It is too easy for your dog to dart off to an interesting distraction if they are off leash. Chances are there will be plenty of other dogs present as well, and not all dogs get along.

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Tips to Help Your Dog Stay Cool in Hot Weather

keep cool OakleyBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs do not sweat the way humans do. They sweat through the pads of their feet and cool off by inhaling and exhaling air while panting to keep internal heat down.  Because their body cooling systems are less efficient, it is important to be aware of where your dog is on very hot days and to help your dog deal with the extreme temperatures.

Exercise Times

You may be able to handle a run in the middle of the day in the blazing sun with no problem, but your dog cannot cool off as easily as you can. With limited sweat glands, high energy exercise in the hottest part of the day can be stressful and dangerous for your dog, even if they seem eager to join in the activities. Walk or run in the morning or evening instead of during the highest temperatures of the day.

If you are away from home and out in the hottest weather with your dog, be sure to bring a container of water for your dog. Allow your dog a rest period and find shaded areas to help your dog cool down.

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Sun Safety Tips for Dogs

By Suzanne Alicie

The heat of summer is upon us! My doggie, Bear, may be getting old but she still loves to romp in the back yard or simply lie under a tree and nap. Fresh air is good for dogs, and you may think that heat is better for your dog than cold but there are several ways in which both heat and sun can harm your dog.

Rule number one is to always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, cool water and a shady or covered area to lie down and relax. We’ve discussed other summer safety tips for dogs here on the Responsible Pet Ownership blog, but let’s focus this time on sun safety.

You might assume that because your dog is covered in fur he’s unlikely to suffer any problems from the sun, but let me surprise you! There’s more to me than a sappy doggie mommy who has been trained to dole out the CANIDAE TidNips. I know some stuff!

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen can help prevent your dog’s nose and ears from getting sunburn. These are sensitive areas and are exposed even if there is hair on the dog’s ears. Keep in mind that light colored dogs are similar to folks with very fair skin — they will burn faster than dark dogs. Some dogs have thick coats while others have thinner coats. Poodles that have been freshly groomed have quite a bit of exposed skin for sunburn, so it is important to keep a close eye on them when they are playing in the sun.

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