Important Summer Tips for your Cats and Dogs

This spring has presented with an especially tough change of season. The intense heat, humidity and ozone alerts are taking a toll on all of us. Outdoor allergens are at their peak. Particularly affected by all of this are our cats and dogs. Here are some simple steps to help them (and you) through it all with relative ease.

Honey’s not just for sweet tooths. Raw, local honey in very small quantities is beneficial in boosting their immune response to environmental, plant based allergens. It must be raw and local – obtained from bees that have fed on nectar from plants in your area – to have real effect. Give no more then 1/8 teaspoon, mixed with their food, one to two times per week. We love Marshall’s own Fern Hill Apiary.

Exercise common sense. Keep strenuous exercise to a minimum. Provide air conditioning or fans and walk dogs only in the early AM and after 8PM. If you use a midday dog walker, request they walk in shade for a short bathroom break and sniff time (we like to call it “reading the paper”) only and then spend time indoors playing or giving a nice brushing/light massage. If your dog has to be outdoors – please, this is NOT recommended and highly discouraged – provide shade and cool, fresh water (put an oversized ice cube in), run a fan, allow to dig a dirt pit (many dogs, especially terriers, will dig a hole to get to cooler ground), provide a kiddie pool. Please, no jogging or biking with your dog – many will try to keep up with you to please you and will endanger their own health. If you’re exercising out there, please bring extra water – you very likely will come upon a dog in need.

Clip that coat! Full and medium and long coat dogs that originally hail from Nordic type climates benefit greatly from a summer cut to help them cope. There are lots of great groomers out there – ask for a short cut, not a shave – dogs can get sunburn, too.

Hey, I like my nose! Heat and humidity are especially challenging for brachiocephalic (short muzzled) dogs – pugs, shih tzus, bulldogs and the like – severely limit exercise and time outdoors during peak heat.

It’s OK to leave me home this time. This is not the time to take your dog for car rides, unless you are not leaving them in the car, even for a minute. Too many tragic stories begin with “I was just gone for…”. If you see a cat, dog or child in an unattended vehicle (even in an unshaded bed of a pickup truck) – please call 911 immediately – it’s an emergency.

If you do encounter an animal that’s been affected by the heat, – the AVMA has good tips and a video.

And remember – cats love heat, but they should always be given a choice. We provide our cats with an enclosed sun porch with free access to the rest of the (blessedly) air conditioned house. One will stay out on the porch all day, while the others alternate.

Summer’s coming and the living is… easy. Slow down and allow your companion to adjust as well.

Any tips you’d like to pass along?

This entry was posted in Healthy Living and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.