While summer enchants us to take our dogs out to the rivers, lakes, parks, and other outdoor areas we need to be aware of some of the most common problems we face when the days are longer and warmer.
A good habit to get into is checking your dog from head to tail after the possibility of contact with any of these common summertime dangers.
Fleas and ticks are abundant, especially in wooded and watery areas.
If you plan to go to an area you suspect might have problems with creepy crawlers it is best to use a preventative. There are many prescription as well as over the counter flea and tick prevention products and even more treatment products.
I use a natural product called Natural Defense on my dogs that protects against not only fleas and ticks but also mosquitoes and have had really good results all without exposing my dogs to pesticides or harsh chemicals. Fleas and ticks can cause a whole host of health issues including blood loss, skin infections, lethargy, Lyme disease, and more.
If you find a flea or tick on your dog consult your groomer or vet if you do not feel comfortable doing the removal yourself. A wide array of shampoos, powders, and sprays can help to rid your dog of external parasites but the best approach, in my book, is prevention.
Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance.
They can carry Heartworm, West Nile, and other diseases. Check to see if your flea and tick preventer also protect against mosquitoes.
If mosquitoes are a problem in your area it might be a good idea to give a once monthly Heartworm preventer such as Interceptor which also works against other types of worms; I use this product and find that it is very convenient to use since I don’t have to mess with liquids and the routine is once a month – much easier than every couple weeks like most puppy wormer schedules.
Burrs and cheat grass, as harmless as they may seem, can cause your dog to end up on the surgery table.
Any time your dog is in an area where weeds are a problem give them a thorough check over paying special attention to nose, ears and feet. If there is something you cannot reach (such as in a nostril) call the vet so they can remove it for you.
Rattlesnakes and scorpions are common in our area.
There is a rattlesnake vaccine but I have not had any personal experience with it. Dogs who are commonly in the field environment such as hunting dogs or dogs we hike with are at the most risk for bites and stings. If you suspect your dog may have been bitten or stung call your vet right away.
Cuts, Scrapes & Bruises all happen from time to time. The more active a dog is the more likely they are to have the occasional bump or bruise. Having a first aid kit on hand that has special items for your dog is helpful. Cleaning out wounds, applying ointments and dressings, and compressing with ice are generally some of the first things you should do for common injuries. It is a good idea to have your dog used to being handled this way, maybe wash and wrap their foot even if there is nothing wrong with it (at least it won’t hurt). A pretend first aid session is usually welcomed by our dogs, especially if they get a treat afterward.
Krystal Ellingson CDBC CPDT-KSA
Krystal Ellingson CDBC CPDT-KSA, is the founder of Speak Dog, the first dedicated ‘positive’ dog training company in the Tri-City area where she lives. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with both Knowledge and Skill accreditations with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers along with a list of other credentials, certificates, and affiliations.