Critters & Creatures

Summer Fun with Fido

Goodbye winter, hello summer! Gone are the days of cold and snow—for now anyway. However, until winter rears its ugly head once again, it is time to enjoy the warm weather with your furry friends.

Spending time outdoors with your pet is fun, and let’s face it, it’s easier to be outside without having to bundle up. However, there are some things to consider before enjoying your regular summer activities. Below you will find tips to help you and your furry family member avoid painful, sticky, or smelly situations this summer.

Camping

Delphi, Harley and Bella relaxing with a view along the St. John River in New Brunswick

Summer is just around the corner, and we know what that means…camping! Camping trips are fun for the whole family, even family pets. However, when travelling with pets, you may want to plan ahead a little.

“When going anywhere out of town I personally like to know where the closest after-hours vet clinic is, and a regular clinic also should we run into any emergencies or injuries,” said Nicole Cosby, pet expert. 

Crosby also suggests looking up pet daycares in the area should you have anything planned where you are unable to bring pets. 

“There is nothing worse than arriving only to find out your pet isn’t welcome,” she added.

 

Trail Hiking

With the warmer weather, chances are you’re going to want to get out and enjoy nature with your pooch. Cosby suggests, before enjoying these activities, check with your veterinarian about parasite protection, especially ticks.

“Ticks are becoming worse, and your pet can contract Lyme disease and others when bit,” she added.

Cosby said this is also an excellent time to talk to your veterinarian to ensure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are also up to date.

“Raccoons, foxes, and bats are some of the most common carriers. Your vet may know of other vaccines that may be worth getting based on the area you are travelling to,” said Cosby. “Your vet can also ensure you have the proper medication with you for bee stings and bug bites.”

Whether you are at the beach or out hiking, always follow leashing instructions and clean up after your pet.

Beach & Water Activities

Summertime means more water activities, which also means paying closer attention to water safety.

“When spending time on or in the water consider a pet flotation device. These can be fitted and purchased at pet stores to help weak and experienced swimmers should an accident happen,” said Cosby.

She adds you should also keep a close watch on how much water your pet is ingesting. Too much water is dangerous for your pooch and can lead to water toxicity. 

“Signs of water toxicity include, but are not limited to loss of coordination, lethargy, vomiting and seizures,” explains Crosby. “Ensure water toys aren’t too big for the dog’s mouth and insist on taking breaks from water play.”

Dogs are also prone to heat exhaustion, so Cosby suggests keeping a shaded area where they can rest when they are tired. 

Signs of heat exhaustion include panting, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions, and collapse.

Outdoor Public Activities (i.e. movies and patios)

Warmer weather also means being able to do more activities outside, whether you’re eating or enjoying a movie.

Cosby said it’s essential to ensure your pet will be able to relax within your chosen environment.

“Teach them to lay on a small mat that you can bring with you or better yet teach them to target and lay on their leash. YouTube will have many instructional videos or consult a dog trainer,” suggested Cosby. “You could also bring a tasty bone to chew or a stuffed Kong. Ensuring your dog has some basic obedience will be helpful, so you aren’t disrupting other guests.”

Road Trips

Road trips are (sometimes) fun for you and your family, but also require careful planning, especially if you plan on bringing your pets. 

“If your dog is known to get car sick or this is your dog’s first big trip your vet can ensure you have the proper medication to prevent vomiting,” said Cosby.

When packing for your road trip, Cosby suggests making sure your pet has access to water and keeping a leash close by for pit stops, potty breaks, and a quick leg stretch.

“If your dog’s recall is weak or they like to chase wildlife consider a brightly-coloured, but lightweight long line. With a long line, the dog can still have some freedom to romp around, but you don’t have to worry about your pet taking off. Always keep an eye on them to prevent eating things they shouldn’t or rolling in something smelly,” she added.

Parties

Everyone enjoys a good party, especially in the summertime. Summer parties can often mean pools, bonfires, and lots of fun for all invited, but sometimes not for your pet. Cosby said parties can sometimes be loud and overstimulating for pets.

“If your dog is sound sensitive, ensure there aren’t going to be fireworks or other loud sounds. Consider ensuring your dog has a quiet area to retreat to such as your car at night or a room at your host’s house during the day,” Cosby added.

She also suggests keeping your pet on a leash, so they’re unable to get ahold of food scraps or handouts from other partygoers, and maybe consider bringing some toys to keep them busy.

“Always keep an eye on your dog around small children, so there are no accidents playing or resource guarding,” said Cosby.

Summer Foods for Pets

There are lots of foods you can enjoy and share with your pet, but Cosby said to be careful if any of these foods happen to be new to your pet. 

“New foods or too much of a food can give your dog an upset stomach and avoid treats if your dog is on a medical vet food,” she added.

Food for Fido: 

  • Watermelon 
  • Frozen berries 
  • Frozen banana 
  • Baby carrots 
  • Broccoli Stems

Be creative and make some pupscicles by freezing low sodium broth in ice cube trays, freezing berries and yogurt, or spread peanut butter on dog biscuits and freeze. 

“Pet stores will also carry pre-made pupscicles and doggy ice creams. Don’t forget treats should always be given in moderation,” said Cosby

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Miranda Brumwell

Miranda attended Niagara College in 2014, completing the two-year Journalism program. She currently resides in London, ON with her boyfriend and baby boy. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys reading, cooking, photography, watercolour painting and spending time with family and friends.

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