1. Hot Asphalt! Hot sidewalks and asphalt can actually burn the foot pads of your pup! As a dog walker, I always look for shady sidewalks or choose walks where my pups can walk on the grass. If you're not sure if the asphalt is too hot, try placing your palm on the surface for five seconds. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws!
2. Heat stroke and Dehydration: Prevent dehydration by always providing your dog with access to fresh water and keeping him from exercising too much in the sun and heat of summer. Plan your dog walks in the cooler hours of the morning or evening. When I'm walking my dog, I always bring along a dog water bottle like this one.
3. Sunburn: Extensive exposure to direct sun puts dogs at risk of sunburn, just like humans. Dogs with short hair or hairless dogs, in addition to dogs with white hair are at the highest risk. If you know you're going to be out in the sun with your dog for an extended period of time, look into doggie sunscreen.
4. Parasites or Algae in the Water:
Summer is the season for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes; pests which can present a minor discomfort to your dog at best and at worst may be life threatening or cause self-mutilating behaviors. Even a sip from a pond during a hike or a swim on a hot day can expose your dog to blue-green algae, which can be deadly to your canine companion. As a dog walker, I make sure that my client's dogs are actively using flea/tick prevention, as well as heartworm prevention. When swimming, try to keep your pet from drinking the water!
5. Fireworks: July 4th ranks as the #1 day the entire year when pets run away. Although we look forward to the annual fireworks displays, pets can be very fearful of the loud noises and flashes of light caused by fireworks. Do NOT leave your dog unattended in a backyard. A scared animal will find its way out. Keep your dog in a safe, secure room in the house, where he can be safe. If you have to be out with your dog around fireworks, be sure to keep him on a short leash and pay attention to his reactions.
As a dog walker in CT, these are things I think about on a daily basis with my dog walking client, as well as my own pups. Do your part to keep your pups safe this summer! And have fun!