(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Spring is here, summer is approaching fast and it’s time to get outside and start taking advantage of the warmer weather. Dr. Jeff Werber, Emmy award-winning celebrity veterinarian, has a few tips and tricks on how to keep your pet happy and healthy in the heat.
Before you start your jogging treks, hiking excursions or bicycle touring with your furry partner by your side, it’s important to understand these spring/summer safety measures to keep your pet happy and safe.
Easing into exercise
After sitting around all winter, it is not a good idea to jump right into a full exercise regimen full speed ahead. The best approach to get your pet ready for more activities outside is a gradual introduction into exercise. A game of fetch is a perfect way to get your pet up and moving. The Chuckit! Launcher and Locator Sound Ball provides an easy way for your pet to increase their stamina, with the added entertainment of retrieving a ball that emits an audible pulse sound every few seconds to help pet parents and dogs locate the ball in any terrain after launch.
If your pet enjoys chasing ground pursuits (think rabbits and squirrels), the Chuckit! RingChaser is a great option to satisfy their instincts. Again, short bursts of chasing and retrieving are a fun way to get your pup back into shape.
It’s also critical to choose the best time of day to exercise — and noon is not it. The best time to enjoy your pet’s company is early in the morning or early in the evening. Keep in mind that in the evening after the sun is down, the pavement can still be pretty warm, as it retains heat for quite a while. Where possible, try to exercise on a grassy or dirt surface to avoid burning or irritating their paws.
Keeping cool and staying hydrated
What we love so much about our dogs is how loyal they are and how much they want to please us. This can be a problem when it comes to potential overexertion, as they will keep going just to be with us, even though they may be overheating. Moreover, many dogs and cats can overheat from lying around the house or backyard as well. When leaving pets outside during the spring or summer, make sure that shade and fresh water are always available. There are many devices available that can provide water automatically or on-demand, like the Petmate Replendish Waterer, which provides a constant flow of fresh water throughout the day for pets even when the pet parent isn’t home. If you’re out and about with your pet, consider the Replendish To-Go Water bottle that conveniently includes a travel bowl for your pet. For longer excursions, or for hotter climates, wet a bandana and place it in the freezer the night before so it will remain nice and cool a little longer. Also, make regular stops in a shady area to allow both of you to catch your breath.
Indoor dogs and cats also need to escape from the heat. Make sure the house isn’t kept too warm. Keep at least one room cooler by leaving the shades or drapes closed. Enough has been written about pets and parked cars, so I’m sure you are all aware of that potential deadly hazard. Don’t do it, not even in the shade or “only for a few minutes.” Enough said.
Limitless possibilities, while on a leash
You and your pet are finally enjoying the great outdoors, and the fun activities with Fido are endless. Our pet nation has a huge population, and it’s important to be a good citizen. Remember to respect other pets’ “space” and boundaries, and don’t assume every dog is dying to play with yours. Wherever you and your pet decide to roam, be mindful of the local leash laws. You don’t want to turn a fun outing into an emergency room visit for you or anyone else.
If you’re heading off to a park or hiking area, make sure you have everything you need for your trek. Travel treats and water bottles are always a good idea to keep with you, to make sure you and your pet are well fueled and hydrated. Keep essentials, like your keys, lip balm, waste bag, etc., all in one place with the Petmate Zipp Leash that features an expandable pouch built right into the leash to hold all dog-walking basics while on the go.
Regardless of whether you choose to run, romp, hike or trek, spring and summer are great times of year to bond with your pets. I encourage all of you to get outdoors, enjoy the warmth and sunshine, and to include your four-legged kids in your activities. Just remember to play it smart and keep them safe.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)