Summer Dog Care

By Barbara Shirk in Animals & Nature

I was out for a drive recently and noticed people taking their dogs out with them in the car when doing their errands.  While spending time with your dogs is great, it’s important to remember the dangers of leaving them alone in a vehicle for any length of time. It is shocking how quickly a car will heat up, even when you don’t think it is very hot and the window is cracked open.   You don’t want to leave your dog in the car with the window open wide or they may jump out or be stolen.  There are serious legal penalties if any animal in your car is in distress. Imagine how badly you would feel if you came out to find your pet in trouble due to the heat, or to find your window broken open so someone could rescue your pet.  If you care about your pet, always err on the side of caution.

It is also unsafe to travel with your dog in the back of your pickup truck.  There could be a sudden change in speed and your dog could be thrown out, or something could come through the air and hit them.

Dogs in general enjoy eating, and this can be hazardous for them as well.  There are many common outdoor plants that are poisonous; be sure to keep your dog away from them. The list includes lilies, marijuana, tulip and narcissus bulbs, azalea, oleander, castor bean, cyclamen, kalanchoe, yew, amaryllis, autumn crocus, chrysanthemum, English ivy, peace lily, pothos and scheffera.  Also, insecticides, pool chemicals and some lawn fertilizers can be poisonous.  Even some spiders, bees, toads, and blue algae in ponds can be toxic.  It is a good idea to have the phone numbers for your veterinarian and the Poison Control Hotline (1-888-426-4435).

Many dogs are scared of loud noises. If you plan to have an evening of fireworks, you may want to leave your dog indoors or tied up to make sure it doesn’t run away.

It is always important to be aware of your dog’s overall condition to keep them comfortable in the summer.  Non shedding dogs, like Shitzus and Poodles, need regular grooming to make sure their hair doesn’t get matted and too long. Double coated breeds like the Golden Retriever need regular grooming to keep their hair matt free and comfortable. Dogs cannot stay cool if their hair is matted and there is no air flow.  Dogs do not sweat; they cool down mainly from panting. Their bodies need protection from the sun. If that hair gets dirty and matted, there is no air flow. That can lead to skin issues and overheating.  Some people opt to shave their double coated dogs, but that isn’t natural for them, and can make their coat look poor. One way to help without jeopardizeing the coat’s benefits is to shave under the belly, but not the body.   All dogs need their nails trimmed every 4 weeks; if you can’t do that yourself, be sure to have it done for you.  Special attention is also important for their ears. They can stay clean and healthy with a little care, but can become a medical problem if left unattended.

We hope you and your pet have a wonderful and safe summer!


This article was written by Barbara Shirk, owner of Barbara’s Dog Grooming near Drayton and a member of the Ontario Dog Groomers Association.