Okay... don't know if ya'll have noticed, but it's almost Memorial Day! Yard Sales are popping up like so many spring flowers. Chicken BBQ is on virtually every corner and I've had to put on a pair of shorts more than once already. So, obviously, the dogs will be out in force as well. It's time to run, romp, sniff and explore the great outdoors. This also means it's time for we people to start thinking about all the necessary summertime precautions to take for our precious pups.
Obviously time outdoors means time spent with pesky bugs. For our canine pals, bugs can mean serious danger. Fleas and ticks bring the threat of heart worms and terrible skin problems. But did you also know that the same ticks that can cause Lyme disease in people can also give the same disorder to dogs? I had no idea until our puppy friend "Sophie" contracted it last year. Luckily she survived but it was very costly and extremely scary for her owners. Nothing can really replace heart worm and flea and tick preventative. Heartguard and Frontline work well but a new flea/tick topical... Biospot... is very effective too and at almost half the cost. That's good for so many of us who are watching budgets.
Another summer threat to pooch can come in the form of critters of the 4 legged variety. As your dog spends more time outside... he is more likely to encounter wildlife. In most instances your dog will be the dominant factor in these encounters, however most critters have their own defenses. It's always good to be able to identify snakes... so that if a bite occurs... you can know whether you should rush Fluffy to the vet. Bees, wasps, hornets and spiders can be more than an irritation to your dog. Some dogs can experience life threatening allergic reactions to stings. Dogs can take over the counter Benadryl but you should consult your vet before anything ever happens, for proper dosing instructions. The infamous skunk can be a REAL problem in the summer too. The are many good remedies for "de-stinking" washes online... it may also be a good idea to have the items necessary for these homemade concoctions on hand before an encounter occurs. (You know the motto... Be Prepared!) A warning though... many of these remedies contain peroxide which may give your BFF a dye job to make Paris Hilton envious. Large animals, such as deer and moose, are having babies this time of year. If they feel threatened by your dog, while with their young, these animals may attack. It's probably best to keep your dogs from provoking wildlife, whenever possible. And... as remote and random as it may sound... old Bailey was once on the receiving end of a porcupine's defenses. Needless to say... not pretty.
With a few precautionary moves, you and your beloved can have an awesome summer together in the great outdoors. The opportunities are endless for swimming, hiking, running and chasing. Along with your local dog parks and trips to your local water hole with Fido, you might consider some group activities that you can do with your dog. Some towns sponsors "Doggie Fun Runs" and walking events. Our town has even been known to feature dogs in the 4th of July Parade. (My favorite is the Fox Hunters Association who travel the parade route with a mass of Beagles and Foxhounds... so cute!)Several Organizations provide organized hikes for people and their pups. Some links for those activities are as follows...
Check these out and see if any are close to you and your hound. But, above all else... get out there and have fun. You and your pup will be happier and healthier for it.