Good Dog
Good Dog

General Health Tips

Dear Pet Lovers,

General Health Tips

We may know our canine companions better than anyone else, but it is important to remember most of us are not medical professionals. If you are uncertain how to treat your dog's medical needs or if you have any questions, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. It is important to keep the following information in mind when travelling or being out recreating with nature!

  • Have your dog's vaccinations updated if necessary. Diseases such as rabies, distemper and parvo are ever-present dangers and necessary precautions should be taken.
  • Beware of insect bites. If your dog is bitten or stung, remove the stinger and watch the site for an allergic reaction. If a reaction occurs or there have been multiple wasp, bee or mosquito bites, take the animal to the vet.
  • If your dog is outside A LOT during the summer (camping, beach days, hiking) think about flea and tick prevention medications. There are many on the market that are very affective and many that use more natural ingredients to repel pesky insects.
  • Most lawn and garden products may be hazardous. Make sure that plants and fertilizers within the dog's reach are not toxic. Always read labels on garden products, bug spray, and other outdoor products to make sure they are pet-friendly.
  • The outdoors exposes dogs to the elements. Dogs may need extra brushing and bathing to stay clean and healthy.
  • No matter how careful and responsible you may be, accidents can happen. It’s a great idea to have a first aid kit for your dog to have items that you might need such as bandages, scissors, etc. that can help you stabilize a wound so you can get your dog to the vet if necessary. Make sure your vet's phone number is close at hand and available to all family members.

Summer Safety Concerns

Dogs need protection from the hot weather. Here are some safety concerns for responsible dog owners:

  • Never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight or in a closed vehicle. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death. Signs of heatstroke are panting, drooling, rapid pulse and fever. Immediately immerse the dog in cool water and seek emergency veterinary assistance. Heat prostration occurs when the body temperature is elevated to approximately 106 degrees Fahrenheit and death will occur at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a hot, parked car. When it's only 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 120 degrees in just minutes. Leaving the windows partially rolled down DOES NOT help. Your dog is susceptible to heat stroke and possible death in these conditions.
  • Always make sure your dog has access to fresh water.
  • All dogs should have proper identification at all times. A collar with an ID tag, along with a tattoo or a microchip is important when your dog is out in the general population or in a situation in which they could become detached from you.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when he is outdoors to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Try to avoid strenuous exercise with your dog on extremely hot days and refrain from physical activity when the sun's heat is most intense.
  • Be mindful of hot pavements - dog paws are easily injured on super-hot streets and it is very painful to dogs.
  • There are many dog parks around our country. Rules vary in some, but most are similar. Some things to consider when using a dog park are:
    No aggressive dogs are allowed, no females in heat, and no dogs that may be ill. It’s never a good idea to take human food into a dog park. You could be an attractive snack for a hungry dog. Be sure to read the posted rules of each park you visit.
  • It’s never a good idea to let small children play with dogs that they do not know. Safety is the biggest issue for all.

Beach Tips

Taking your dog to the beach can be a great way to spend a beautiful summer day. However, as a responsible dog owner there are certain precautions you should take:

  • Provide plenty of fresh water and shade for your dog. Dehydration can hit quickly and do much harm.
  • Dogs can get sunburn, especially short-haired dogs and ones with pink skin and white hair. Limit your dog's exposure when the sun is unusually strong, and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Dogs are easy targets for jellyfish and sea lice in ocean water. In late summer, some lakes with come alive with micro-organisms that can cause your dog to itch or come down with intestinal issues. Local authorities will usually keep you up to date when there’s unusual or dangerous activity In the water.
  • If your dog is out of shape, don't encourage him to run on the sand. Running on a beach is strenuous exercise, and a dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament.
  • Cool ocean water is tempting to your dog. Do not allow him to drink too much seawater. The salt in the water will make him sick.
  • Salt and other minerals found in the ocean can damage your dog's coat. So, when you are ready to leave for the day, rinse him off with fresh water.
  • Not all beaches permit dogs. Check local ordinances before you begin your excursion to the beach.

Dogs in the Water!

Most dogs can swim . Not all dogs, but most. First time swimmers should be tested before leaving them on their own. Here’s some tips to help your dog safely learn to swim for the first time:

  • Start in shallow water. Call your dog's name. A toy or a treat in hand may give your dog the incentive to get into the water. Never throw a dog in the water. It can scare them and they might never go into the water without great fear.
  • Peer modeling is another great way to introduce a dog to water. If your dog has a dog friend that already swims and is friendly with your dog, let your dog follow his friend.
  • If your dog begins to doggy-paddle with his front legs only, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and will then keep his back end up.
  • Although swimming is great exercise, don't let your dog overdo it. He will be using new muscles and may tire quickly.
  • Be careful of strong tides that are hazardous for even the best swimmers. . It is never a bad idea to invest in a dog life jacket. Many dogs have been saved from tiring or from a strong current by the use of a life jacket. Life jackets can also give your dog the confidence to get into the water for the first time.
  • Never leave your dog unattended! You should always be in a position to help him get out of the water.

Pam, Krister, Rosanna, Kris, and Emily

The GoodDog Team