Sunny, warm days ahead bring the welcome opportunity to spend more time outdoors with your dog. However, summer is prime time for fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other parasites, and high temperatures also bring risks from heat and sun exposure. Our furry friends rely on us to help keep them healthy and safe.
Make these warm-weather adjustments to keep your pets in top condition and ready to enjoy all the season has to offer.
- Feed your dog high quality food. This will lead to a healthier dog with fewer skin and/or digestive problems. The best food for your dog is a raw diet, consisting of human grade, whole foods which uses only grass feed, free range meat and avoids any synthetic additives, wheat, corn or soy, and animal by products and fillers.
- Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your yard or on your lawn. Dogs can directly ingest toxic chemicals by licking their paws and fur and the chemicals get tracked into your home, contaminating floors and furniture. Common sense tells you that it’s not healthy for any creature to be exposed to powerful toxic elements.
- Many standard flea collars and solutions on retail shelves contain pesticides and chemicals that can not only harm your pet, but pose a danger to human health as well –especially for children or pregnant women. Avoid these toxic chemicals whenever possible and remember that anything that goes on your pet (or you!) gets inside the body by absorption through the skin.
- There are many safe, natural methods that are effective for controlling fleas including essential oils and apple cider vinegar. Mix 10 drops of certified organic essential oil (Cedar, tea tree, citronella or lavender) to one tablespoon of olive oil. Spray on your dog as a repellent. Or apply diluted apple cider vinegar to your pet's skin. You can also make your own flea collar by mixing 3-5 drops of the essential oils mentioned above with 1-3 tablespoons of water and putting this on a bandana or your dog’s collar.
- Diatomaceous Earth is a natural pesticide that can successfully remove fleas and ticks from your pet. You can sprinkle a little on their food as it is a naturally occurring mineral, just make sure it is food grade. You can also sprinkle it on your pet’s fur, on your carpet, behind your furniture and on your lawn. Be careful it is not inhaled.
- Fleas tend to be most attracted to less healthy animals, so animals that are in optimal health with strong immune systems are less likely to suffer from any sort of parasite.
- Bathe your dog weekly. Frequent bathing with a non-toxic gentle shampoo is an excellent way to control fleas.
- One of the best ways to keep a dog's coat healthy and help prevent matting and summertime skin irritation is regular grooming. The right grooming tool can dramatically reduce shedding by removing the undercoat and loose hair without sacrificing the healthy top coat.
- Never leave your pet in a parked car. On a hot day, the temperature inside a car can reach more than 160 degrees in five minutes. And leaving the windows cracked or parking in the shade doesn’t keep those temperatures from soaring.
- Access to a clean water bowl both inside and outside is critical in the summertime. While you're on the go, be sure to bring water for your pet in a suitable drinking container. And avoid hot surfaces. Dogs' pads may seem tough, but sidewalks, pavement and sand can get so hot in the summer that dogs' feet can burn and blister.
Let’s show our dogs how much we love them all year long by giving them plenty of attention, feeding them quality food, and providing a living environment that is free of dangerous toxins.