Summer Safety

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Summer time is a wonderful time of vacations, sitting in the sun, and just enjoying the outdoors. However it can also hold many dangers to pets as their time outside and in the heat increases. There are several things to be aware of to make sure you are keeping your canine companions safe.

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My dog Kydd hiking with me in the Red River Gorge. Notice he is just starting to get a little bit of a spoon tongue- as discussed later in this article. We made sure to bring lots of water, and quickly stopped once he got too tired.

One of the first safety tips is watching your dog for signs of heat stress. Most individuals are aware that they should never leave their dog in the car along. This is especially true in the summer time as it could be a fatal mistake. The temperature in the car can quickly rise to over 100 degrees or more within the span of just 1-2 minutes. If your are traveling with your pet in the summer time, make sure to bring plenty of water for your pet and a doggy bowl for them to drink out of. I have also found that using a cold wet rag or cooling pet products are great for helping your pet stay comfortable.

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Even when dogs are not in the car there are many dangers with the increase in heat. Simple exercises like going for a walk or playing at the dog park can pose the same threats as being in the car. The only way dogs have to cool themselves down is through panting. When it is too hot or too humid outside, this method of body temperature becomes ineffective. To understand this more, think about how this method of cooling works. Blood in your dog’s body circulates to the tongue for an area of heat exchange, theoretically bringing hot blood from the body to the tongue, to be cooled slightly from the temperature of the environment, and then circulate back through the body. When the environmental temperature is too hot or too humid, this mechanism very quickly stops working as the tongue, a muscle, starts to generate heat with increased panting, and the heat exchange can no longer work. When this happens your pet is at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. However, by making a plan for your pet to be outside and watching for signs of heat stress, this can easily be avoided. Look for signs of ‘spoon tongue’ or when the base of the dogs tongue starts to swell and look more like a circle rather than long and straight. Heavy panting and resistance to exercise is also a sign that it may be time to stop.pets in summer Heat stroke in dogs
There are also several products on the market as well as diy projects that you can do to help keep your dog cool. The first is to always make sure your pet stays hydrated. Products to check out are portable doggy bowls that can collapse for easy transport, or water bottles that are dog friendly, such as the lick-able “rabbit style” bottle made by Life is good, or water bottles with a fold out bowl for easy access.

Several companies have also started making doggy cooling packs such as Ruffwear that makes a vest that can be soaked with water to help mimic a sweating activity that the dog is unable to do naturally and help keep the dog cool. Ruffwear and several other companies also make doggy booties which are great for protecting the pad’s on your dog’s feet from getting burned from hot asphalt or concrete.

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Ruffwear’s picture of swamp cooling vest. For more information check out ruffwear.com.

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Ruffwear’s picture of doggie booties. For more options and information check out ruffwear.com

For more information on the swamp cooler vest or doggy booties check out the link below and see the pictures from Ruffwear above:

http://www.ruffwear.com/Swamp-Cooler-Dog-Cooling-Vest-Sun-Protection-Prevents-Canine-Heat-Exhaustion-from-Ruffwear

http://www.ruffwear.com/Products/dog_boots

Other cooling products to check out are cooling mats for your dog to lay on or cooling collars (chill-out collars)- which are available through online pet product websites generally (such as Dr. Foster and Smith).

If you are looking for easy fixes consider getting a kiddy pool to let your dog lay in, a sprinkler for you pup to play in or even wet bandannas or towels to lay on your dog. For quick cooling, leave a wet towel in the fridge or went bandannas in the freezer to wrap around your dog when he is going outside for a walk or to play.

From the folks here at Circle Tail we hope you and your pets enjoy the summer and stay safe!

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Shepherding Working Skills

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Over the past several months several of Circle Tail’s German Shepherd litter have been working on the service dog skills and ‘shepherding’ their inner working dog. Two such trainees are Katovik and Ticasuk, otherwise known as “Tovik” and “Tica”.  They are both adorable little ladies who are now 8 months old and still learning so much about what it means to be a service dog in training.  Here are some pictures of these cuties.  For more information check out Circle Tail’s service dogs in training at http://circletail.net/index.php?page=elementary.

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Cars and Canines- traveling safely with your four legged friends

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545883_447277265299499_693944759_nI have a friend who recently adopted a puppy and has found that traveling in the car can be a little bit of an adventure as their puppy climbs around in the back seat, front seat, and will even venture so far as to try for the driver’s seat. For readers who have a similar problem, there are several solutions to make sure that traveling in the car is safe for both your dog and those driving in the car.

Perhaps one of the easiest options is putting a kennel in the trunk or an area in the car that the dog can know is their ‘seat’.  A soft crate is ideal as it like the name hints, the sides are soft and will not be a softer landing during stops and turns that the car will make.  I’ve also seen several people make their crate an organized area where they can hang leashes, poopie bags, and other travel gear for when they go on adventures with their dogs.

Although crates work for some people, its not the right choice for everyone.  Another option that helps to keep the car clean and dog safe are car seat covers.  The type that I prefer the most are the blanket type that hook from the head rests of the front seat to the back seat and covers the entire seat.  It’s like a canine hammock and helps keep hair, dirt, and mud off the seats while also providing a safe area for your dog in the car.  The only drawback is that you have to have enough room to allow for your dog to take up a row of seats.

For those who don’t have the kind of space to fit a kennel or a canine hammock into the car, the next best option is a dog seat belt.  Canine seat belts have become more available on the market and can be found in just about any pet store.  They act like a harness on the dog but can connect to the main seat belt system in the car to help keep the dog safe and secure in the car while the car is in motion, while also helps prevent fido from climbing all over and distracting the driver.

Although not all dogs are difficult passengers in the car, having a plan for how you will travel with your dog will help keep everyone safe and happy during your fun filled adventures.  Safe travels!

 

 kydd car zap in the car