Guest post by: Dr. Rachel Barrack. Dr. Barrack is a licensed veterinarian, certified veterinary acupuncturist, and certified veterinary Chinese herbalist with an integrative approach to healing. She draws upon her extensive training in both eastern and western veterinary medicine to treat and heal animals. To learn more about Dr. Rachel Barrack, please visit her website at animalacupuncture.com.
Summer time means outdoor barbeques, sunny days and more room for adventures with your loved ones – including your pet! From a walk around the neighborhood, to an active hike or an exciting road trip, there are several ways you and your pet can enjoy summer fun together.
Although the blazing summer heat can be tough for “us” to deal with, imagine having four legs and a full coat of fur. While you’re on your adventures with your pet, it’s important to take a few precautions first to ensure a happy and healthy pet – for a happy and healthy owner.
In addition to being the owner of my 9-year-old Chihuahua, Eloise, I am also a licensed veterinarian who specializes in veterinary acupuncture and Chinese herbology at Animal Acupuncture in New York City. Here are a few of my proven tips to keep your pet healthy and happy throughout the hot summer months:
At The Dog Park
Summer is the perfect season to bring your family to the park – pets included! But before you bring your furry loved ones along, make sure they play safely with other dogs and are calm in an environment with young children and animals.
Additionally, games like fetch are fun for everyone involved, but watch what you use. Dead branches and sticks are a common choice, but they can splinter and cause irritations and obstructions if ingested. Stick with a tennis ball or your pet’s favorite toy instead.
From beach trips to family BBQs, summer travel seems to be endless on the weekends. When traveling with your pet, make sure they are safe in the car. Never let your pet ride unsecured in the back of a pick-up truck or with the windows down too low. Bugs and dirt can fly into your animals’ eyes and ears causing irritation, and the breeze may cause dry eyes.
When making a pit stop along the way, never leave your pet unattended in your car. Temperatures can quickly escalate to dangerous temperatures resulting in heat stroke and even death for your pet.
Once arriving at your destination, it may be tempting to let your dog jump in the nearest pool or lake, but use caution. Not all dogs are natural swimmers and they should never be allowed to swim unattended.
If you end up at a delicious BBQ, it is tempting to share the food with your dog. But, food including onions, garlic, corn on the cob, and bones can be extremely harmful. It is best to stick with your pet’s usual diet rather than having them partake in the BBQ fest.
There’s nothing like going on a walk with your pet to both get a little exercise and fresh air. However, the intensifying heat is something to be aware of. Make sure your pet doesn’t overheat when exercising, and always provide fresh, clean water to keep them well hydrated.
Be careful if you are walking your dog on asphalt or hot rocks, as the ground can heat up and result in painful blisters. It is also important to keep your pet well groomed to prevent skin irritation and to regulate their temperature.
Camping is a fun summer activity that of course, can include your pets. But remember, summer season is bug season. Your pet should be on heatworm, flea, and tick preventatives, and always check your pet for ticks after walks in wooded areas and long grasses.
General Health and Well-Being
Every season is a reminder to schedule a check-up with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is in optimal health and all vaccinations are up to date. This is also a great time to consult your primary care veterinarian to see if acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy can benefit your pet. Chinese medicine is a great way to alleviate chronic conditions including allergies, arthritis, and anxiety — allowing you and your dog to have a great summer!