(ARA) - When the warm summer months roll around, our dogs are just as eager as we are to get outside and enjoy the season. Whether he tells you by nudging his leash or staring at the door knob, one way or another, your pup knows it's time for some fun in the sun.
Before you head out, keep in mind that warm weather and sunny days are fun, but they can also mean you might need to take some extra precautions with your pet. The whole family can rest assured knowing their four-legged best friend is healthy, hydrated and happy by keeping the following tips in mind:
1. Schedule a checkup. Before you go anywhere that requires your dog to interact with other dogs, be sure to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Get updates on shots for dangerous communicable diseases like bordetella.
While you're there, ask your veterinarian to evaluate your pet's overall health. Your veterinarian's office is also a great place to pick up two essential medications for the season - heartworm preventers and flea and tick control.
2. Run free. It's easy for humans and canines alike to slide out of shape during the winter months, and now is the perfect time to work off what you've packed on. Taking your dog on regular walks will help, but even more fun for him is a trip to the dog park. Off-leash areas are a treasure for pets and their owners because dogs can run free and play to their heart's content. They also get natural lessons in socialization. In fact, 44 percent of dog owners who take their dog to the dog park say their dog is more social with other people and dogs. Plus, it's fun for you, too!
Because pet owners value off-leash areas so much, dog parks across the country are expanding and improving now more than ever. To help support dog parks in local communities, The Nutro Company, a leading manufacturer of natural pet food products, is leading a movement called Room to Run this summer to enhance local dog parks in 30 communities around the country. Pet enthusiasts are invited to join the effort and lend a hand. Whether there's a Room to Run event in your area or not, you can make a difference by going to your local dog park and making small changes to make it more enjoyable for everyone. To find out more about the initiative, go to www.thenutrocompany.com.
3. Be prepared. Dogs aren't much for strolling around the mall. They love to be out running around and often don't want to stop no matter how warm it is or tired they feel. Brush up on the signs and symptoms of health problems like dehydration and heat stroke, as well as basic first aid techniques.
Keep a canine first aid kit in your car. At a minimum, it should include antiseptic spray, water-based antibiotic ointment, bandaging (including sterile gauze and a binder like Vetrap or other elastic bandages), a thermometer, tweezers and single-use cold packs. You should also keep the number and address to your veterinarian and an emergency vet stored in your phone or on a slip of paper in your wallet.
4. Good on the inside. To keep your pet's energy and health at optimal levels for increased summer activity, be sure you feed a high-quality dog food. It's easier than ever to make sure your dog is getting complete, healthy nutrition without fillers. High quality foods can be found at your pet store and come in a variety of options that cater to your pet's size or life stage.
Whether you're going on a weekend camping trip with your four-legged friend or just heading out for a romp at the dog park, a safe summer is the happiest kind of summer there is.
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