It is important that while we prepare our homes, yards, and even cars for the fun-in-the-sun days, we keep our canine companions’ safety in mind, too.
Here are some of my FiveSibes™ tips to help keep the fun in summer for everyone:
1. Yards of Fun!
As we prepare our yards for the great outdoor season, do a thorough yard check, sans dogs, of course, and:
- Inspect all the fence lines and gates to be sure they are still solid and intact.
- Look around to see if any animals or bees made a nest that needs to be removed.
- Did anything wind up in your yard that shouldn’t be there? There’s always some type of post-winter debris that gets left behind. Not only do the seasonal winds blow things into our yard, but wild critters and birds can deposit items that could pose a danger to our unassuming dogs. Upon a search of my own backyard post-snow, I discovered a half-eaten moldy bagel, a piece of petrified pizza crust, and a partly eaten bone-in chicken breast! So, really inspect those yards!
2. All Paws on Deck!
It’s time to dust off that patio furniture and enjoy your deck! Be sure that the wood has no screws, nails, or splinters poking up that could injure your dog. Looking to repaint or remodel your deck? Be sure the wood, paint, stain, or non-wood materials are non-toxic and safe for pets.
3. Grillin’ Time!
Mmm-mmm. Is there anything more enticing than being greeted by the tantalizing aroma of barbequing food? Be sure grills (and supplies such as gas tanks, charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches) are a safe distance away from your dogs to avoid them from getting burned, overheated, or chewing and ingesting something they are not supposed to. Even the best-trained dog can be enticed by the sweet and savory smells of food on a grill.
4. Water, Water Everywhere!
Always keep fresh, cool water available for your dogs. Don’t forget to wash out those dishes to keep them free from dirt, slime, mold, and bugs. Need to dump it? Recycle the water in your garden!
5. Yard Spray? No Way!
Think twice before you spray or shake that insect repellent, pesticide, and rodenticide around your property. They can be very toxic to pets, and can also be a trigger for seizures, so be sure to seek out a non-toxic alternative.
6. Time to Chill!
Here’s a few ways to help furpals beat the heat:
- Fill a kiddie pool with water and let your dogs have a splashing good time! *Alert *– you will definitely want to capture this on film, so grab your video cam and/or camera for some great summer memories!
- Sprinklers are a fun way to cool off with your dog!
- Outdoor oscillating misting fans are a welcome heat relief! They can also lower the area temperature several degrees, too! On the go? Take along a handheld misting fan for your pup, and don’t forget to mist their paw pads!
- Cooler collars are neat way to help cool down a pup. There are many styles to choose from, or, make one of your own!
- Cooler mats and waterbeds are a great way to offer dogs a temporary spot to chill.
- And, of course, time spent indoors in the a/c or under a fan is always a great way to chase away the heat!
7. Dogs in Cars
Dogs love car rides! However, please do not leave your furry best friends in a parked car on a warm day, as a vehicle can become a dangerously hot oven for a dog. According to MyDogIsCool.com, “On a summer’s day of 85°F (30°C)… even keeping the windows slightly open won’t stop the inside temperature from climbing to 102 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 120 degrees in 20 minutes.”
Even those quick trips into a store can spell d-a-n-g-e-r for your dog, so please, just leave them safely at home. Additionally, many states and many municipalities that have Hot Car laws in place. You can find out if your state is one of them, “Take the Cool Pledge” with your dog, help shelters and rescues get the word out with flyers and pamphlets, plus much more info by checking out the My Dog is Cool website. While there, nominate your own favorite shelter or rescue to receive My Dog is Cool materials.
So, head on outside, be safe, and enjoy this fantastic season with your dog!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the international FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.” Named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, Dorothy is a 5-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2016 for her writing. An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram (@FiveSibesMom).