In the Good Old Summertime

While summer this year in southwest Michigan has been fairly pleasant, there are still a lot of weeks left, and as anyone who has lived here long knows, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute. It’s good to remember that our pets can also suffer from the heat and humidity. Pets always need access to fresh water and shelter from the elements, as well as protection from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, and the diseases they can carry. Those are the basics, but there are also other products that can help make summer a more enjoyable time for pets. I’ve recently considered getting a cooling mat for Foo Foo, because she is often very warm even while in the house with the AC on. Some mats are gel-filled; others have crystals that do the cooling. They are supposed to stay cool for several hours, and some are activated by the pet lying on them. They can be used by dogs and cats alike.

Cooling collars can help dogs feel more comfortable in the heat. Dogs that are brachycephalic, such as the boxer, Boston terrier, bulldogs, and Shih Tzu, are especially prone to becoming overheated. Because of their pushed in faces, they can have difficulty panting (which is how dogs sweat) efficiently enough to keep them cool. A cooling collar seems perhaps a good idea to keep them from overheating. Dogs are also subject to sunburn, especially on their noses and bellies (for short-haired dogs). You can use sun block on them, but make sure it is without zinc oxide.

If your dog is afraid of fireworks and storms, a Thundershirt might help ease his anxiety. Looking rather like a harness, it works by applying gentle, constant pressure for a drug-free option. I’ve seen how well a Thundershirt actually works for a very stressed-out dog. Even if firecracker season is pretty much past, there are sure to be plenty of summer storms still in our forecast.

Whether or not to take your pets with you on vacation poses many different questions. Will the places you are staying allow pets? Will you have to pay extra? How well does your pet travel? It’s better to know the answers ahead of time, because an ounce of pre-planning is always worth it. Of course you never want to leave pets in the car alone in the summer. If it’s 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a parked, closed-up car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Always have your pets’ license and I.D. tags on them, and if it’s a lengthy trip, you might want to consider micro-chipping. Bringing along the food they are used to eating will help to prevent stomach upsets. Vacationing with your pets can be a fun time, with just a little thinking ahead.IMG_0034

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6 Comments on “In the Good Old Summertime”

  1. melissakeir Says:

    We’ve thought about taking our dogs camping with us but we are worried about how they will act in our trailer, especially if we run to the store or something. The trailer has AC so heat isn’t a worry, but the barking is. They are very protective of the house. We need to plan a trial run, something close to home!

  2. Kristen Says:

    Thundershirt? Okay, I’m sold. As if the cool name weren’t enough, my border collie mix would probably love to wear one of these all the time. She’s a little high-strung.


    • The dog I put it on was a German Shepherd, if you can believe it. He was terrified of storms and fireworks. He tried to climb in my lap on the 4th of July, and he wasn’t even my dog. But the Thundershirt really did help him with his anxiety and fear.

  3. marissoule Says:

    Good advice, as usual.


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