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Top Summer Traumas for Pets and How to Weather Them
There are so many things to love about summer. Parades down Main Street, fireworks filling the night sky and camping beneath the stars, just to name a few. But while these warm-weather attractions might be fun for us humans, they can be frightening and even dangerous for pets. Here are a few tips on how to help your pet enjoy summertime festivities as much as you do.
THINGS THAT GO BANG!
Fireworks can be so upsetting for pets that more dogs and cats run away from home on the 4th of July than any other holiday. it’s one of the most important times of year to make sure your pet is safe and secure. The Associated Humane Societies offer these recommendations for helping Fido or Fluffy stay put on Independence Day:
- Take your pet out for a walk before fireworks begin to exercise, relax and go “potty”.
- Keep him inside during fireworks with the windows securely closed. He may even feel most comfortable in a small interior room. Be sure to remove any items that your pet could destroy, or that would be harmful if chewed or ingested.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and that your information is up to date.
- If your pet is extremely sensitive to loud noises, talk to your veterinarian before the holiday weekend. He or she will offer ways to help alleviate your pet’s fear and anxiety.
Summertime is thunderstorm season. For sensitive pets, storms can be terrifying. Whether they are scared of the light, the noise, the smells, or even the change in barometric pressure, a storm can set off a series of behaviors that can be dangerous for your phobic pet. Some pets may shake, drool, howl, bark and even lose bladder and bowel control.
Teach Fluffy that storms don’t have to be scary. Move her to a windowless room or a basement where her exposure to the storm will be reduced, or distract her by playing a game with one of her favorite toys. You can even reserve special toys or treats for use only during a storm, so that your pet associates the frightening stimulus with a positive behavior. If thunder is the biggest issue, you could also consider investing in a white noise machine or turning on a bathroom fan to drown out some of the boom.
There’s no better time to dust off your camping gear, set out for the wilderness and sleep beneath the stars. But while the Great Outdoors may seem like an ideal vacation destination for Fido, remember that he will also be exposed to new and unfamiliar territory. Here are a few tips to make camping more fun for everyone:
- Purchase a pet first aid kit from a pet supply store, or make your own pet first aid kit. Even something as small as a bug bite or splinter can make for a very unhappy pooch if untreated.
- Bring the right food for Fido. While campfire fare might seem like a fun treat for your pets, ingestion of fatty foods can cause pancreatitis and other digestive issues, which even a first aid kit won’t cure. Best bet, bring along his favorite pet food and keep the campfire treats to yourself.
- Respect your pet’s physical limitations. Domesticated animals may seem like they simply can’t wait to “run wild,” but they can get as out of shape as the rest of us. So don’t expect Fido to climb a mountain, hike miles of trails or swim across the entire lake.
The best part of summer is spending time having fun with your pets. By thinking ahead, you can make sure that whatever you do this season, everyone has a great time—Fido and Fluffy included.
Dog Park Safety
When you first take your dog to the dog run, try to go during an off-peak hour. It can be very crowded after work or on weekends and your dog may be intimidated by all of the activity. Have his first experience at the park be fun!
The local dog park is as common today as the local playground. Some people say that dogs are the new “kids,” but it’s important to remember that dogs are very different than your average preschoolers. If you take your dog to the dog park, follow these safety tips:
- Before you go to the dog park with your dog, check it out by yourself. Have a look at the park’s posted rules. Ask other dog owners about the vibe at the park – are the other dogs friendly? Are they mostly big or small dogs?
- Make sure that your dog is socialized to other dogs. Some dogs are afraid of or aggressive toward other dogs. If you have an anti-social pup, consult a behaviorist or trainer to help you socialize him before you become a regular at the dog park.
- When you first take your dog to the dog run, try to go during an off-peak hour. It can be very crowded after work or on weekends and your dog may be intimidated by all of the activity. Have his first experience at the park be fun!
- Make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date before taking him to the park.
- Never take a female in heat to the park. Some parks have rules against intact males.
- Remove your dog’s leash as soon as you enter the park. Leash aggression is common when one dog is on a leash and the others aren’t.
- Keep a flat or rolled nylon or leather collar on your dog at all times. Remove a choke or prong collar if you use one.
- If you bring toys to the dog park, prepare to share them with other dogs. If your dog is not good at sharing, leave his beloved toys at home.
- If you bring treats, make sure they are secure in a pouch or pocket. Other dogs will hound you for a treat – ask their owners before you indulge them.
- Recognize the difference between play and aggression. Some dogs play roughly and growl or bark. Many dogs like this level of play, and those that don’t usually avoid the rambunctious player.
- Recognize aggressive behavior – this includes raised hackles, bared teeth, and growling. If your dog is being aggressive, call him to you and remove him from the park for the day. If another owner’s dog is the aggressor, let him or her know that you feel uncomfortable with the way their dog is behaving – but do it nicely!
- If a fight breaks out, don’t get in the middle of it! Throw something into the fray, like a coat, or turn a hose on the brawlers. If your dog is involved in the fight, remove him for the day. Do not grab your dog by the collar if he’s in an aggressive mode – this will only fuel his hostility. If your dog is not involved in the fight, grab him before he can join in.
- Dogs can team up on other dogs, so watch that a weaker dog doesn’t wind up on the wrong end of a gang fight.
- Watch your dog at all times. It’s inappropriate to leave your dog in the run by himself, talk on your cell phone (to distraction), or read a book.
- Don’t bring young children to the dog park. If you do bring an older child, enforce a few rules: Don’t approach a dog you don’t know until you ask the owner if the dog likes kids; don’t run around making loud noises – this can provoke the prey drive in some dogs; don’t try to take a toy or food away from any dog; and always keep your shoes on.
Above all, have fun!
Date Night Pet Tips
Our pets are our best friends, biggest fans and most loyal followers. So it makes perfect sense that we want to include our dogs and cats in every aspect of our lives, including date night. After all, not only are pets a perfect ice breaker on an awkward first date, they can be an excellent judge of character.
Below you will find 8 ways to include your dog on your next date. However, when visiting a new business or location, confirm pets are allowed, bring food and water for you dog, and make sure he is comfortable interacting in a new setting or environment. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is in tip-top condition, microchipped and all vaccines and/or medications are up to date before you embark on new adventures. Also, your pet should wear a collar tag with ID.
- Go Local – Be a Tourist
Find a nearby city or town you have never been to and spend a day doing touristy activities with your pet. You can visit National Monuments, famous architecture, popular landmarks and local historical places.
- Be Adventurous – Go for a hike
Most state parks are dog friendly and they have beautiful trails for couples and their pets to explore.
- Be Adventurous – Outdoor Day Camping
If hiking isn’t enough for you, consider camping in the wilderness with your pup and your date. It will be a great, small getaway, providing a much needed break for everyone.
- Be Romantic – Go see the Sunrise/Sunset at the Beach
Nothing is more beautiful than watching the sunrise or set at the beach. Having your date and pet be by your side is an added bonus.
- Go Local – Trip to the Farmers Market and a picnic at the Park
Pick up fruits, vegetables and freshly baked bread from your local farmers market and head over to park for a lunch picnic.
- Be Retro – Drive-In Movie
The fifties are making a comeback! A lot of local parks during the summer have outdoor movie show times. While your dog might not care about Ferris Bueller’s day off. They won’t complain as long as they are with you.
- Be Generous – Run a 5k or Attend a Dog Friendly Charity Event
5k’s are great way to get some exercise and give back to the community and most of them allow dogs. If running a 5k doesn’t sound like fun, then don’t worry. There are many local events hosted by charities that allow pets, whether it’s your downtown local art fair supporting local artist, or a brewery nearby that hosts it annul brew and pooch fest.
- Be Relaxed – At Home
A date doesn’t always mean going out somewhere! Having a dinner date at home is sometimes the perfect option. Whether, it’s a barbeque in the backyard or making your grandmother’s secret pasta recipe, cuddling with your date and you pet can be a great way to spend the night.
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