Keep your dog happy and healthy this summer - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Keep your dog happy and healthy this summer

CDC / Dawn Arlotta CDC / Dawn Arlotta

By Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

With the dog days of summer in full swing, people's thoughts turn to the many ways of enjoying the warm weather with their furry friends. Whether you're hitting the beach or hanging out in the backyard, take a moment to review some basic summer safety tips to keep your dog safe while having fun.

Keeping Cool
Heat stroke is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for dogs during the summer months. A large number of these cases result from people leaving their dogs in the car while they run errands.

My Dog is Cool has the results from a test by the Animal Protection Institute that show the difference between outside temperature and the temperature inside a car on a warm day. In this study, cracking a window shows a negligible difference in the temperatures.

In addition, a 2005 study conducted at Stanford University showed that temperatures inside a car can skyrocket to fatal heat levels even on days as cool at 70 degrees. So to sum things up: Be safe and leave your pet at home.

Pets can overheat rapidly in a warm yard if they don't have adequate shelter from the sun and water. This risk is amplified for the "squishy face" brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs and pugs, so make sure your dog has a cool place to retreat to.

Water Safety
It's an old and persistent myth that all dogs are naturally great swimmers. I can attest to this personally, having rescued my Lhasa Apso from the family swimming pool when I was 8 years old.

Dogs get excited and can easily overexert themselves while swimming, so make sure to enforce breaks and never leave a pet unattended by the pool. In addition, pet life preservers are available at pet stores everywhere and can be a great safety addition if you are taking your pet on a boating trip or to the beach.

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang is a small-animal veterinarian and pet aficionado from San Diego, Calif. When she's not at work or with her family of two and her four-legged creatures, you can find her blogging about life with pets at  

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