Ticks & Fleas
There is a few things to keep in mind with the summer months approaching fast when it comes to the care of your favorite poochie. The wood ticks are on the move and, to prevent this from being a problem I would suggest Frontline Plus. I apply Frontline to my dogs once in the spring; this carries me past the wood tick infestation and right into the summer months when it does not seem to be such a big problem. I prefer Frontline over flee and tick collars because, the collar can fall off or the dog can maneuver out of it; not only that but, if a dog decides to snack on it that can cause a big problem from them….those collars have neurotoxins on them…..dog eating it = very sick dog. Frontline is applied between the shoulders where the dog can not lick it so, digestion is not a problem with this application. The only thing to keep in mind with Frontline is that the poochie needs to stay out of water for 48 hours after the application so, it does not wash off.
Parasites & Worms
The next thing to keep in mind with the warming months is that the mosquitoes are waking up and are hungry. Mosquitoes carry and infect dogs with heartworm. It is important that you give your dog heart guard medicine to prevent/ kill heart worms in their blood stream. I use a brand of medicine called Virbac, Iverhart Plus. This is a cheaper brand of Heartgard; it works the same but, is easier on my pocket book (remember I am treating 9 dogs for 6-7 months a year). Iverhart also controls and treats hookworm and ascarid. If you would like more information on ordering the cheaper brand of heartguard send me an email and I will get you to contact information. Another thing to keep in mind is that heartguard is a poison; it kills whatever little larva that are in your dogs blood stream; heartguard ios NOT a preventative. Heart worms take 6 months to grow from larva to adult worms that attack the dogs heart; that is why heartgurad works, it kills the larva. I also encourage with the warming of the weather that you consider deworming your dog after it has a nice juicy treat of dead animal or rolls in it ( the scent of dead carcus is lovely isn’t it?) . I suggest this because, dogs contract intestinal worms from dead animals. If you notice that your beloved poochie is having problem keeping weight on or is losing weight in a noticeable manner I would suggest having them dewormed. This treatment should not cost more than 15 dollars at your vet; if it is send me an email and I will help you get some cheaper medication.
Now that I have covered all the medical aspects of dog care for the warming months, I would like to cover basic care strategies. Here is a no brainer, it is getting warmer even hotter out; your dog will need a more continuous supply of fresh water, fresh being the key word. (Note: the bucket that sits outside and still seems to be full of water needs to be changed; algae can grow in stagnant water and make dogs VERY sick.) In our yard, the dogs have 2 five gallon buckets full of water that are dumped, scrubbed clean, and refilled everyday. They also have a one-foot deep by six-foot diameter pool to jump in and out of at their liesure. The pool is dumped, cleaned, and filled about once a week. We have the advantage of having so many dogs that the pool gets dirty fast and the buckets empty quickly, however you may need to keep an eye on the quality of the water if you don’t go through it that quickly.
You might consider giving your poochie a hair cut; it will help with keeping him/ her cool. Shade is important in the summer months as well; if you have a great big yard that your dog spends the day in or just a tiny yard, make sure there is shade for them to escape from the sweltering rays of the sun. Shelter is important not only for shade but, also for protection against mother nature when she is cranky (ie: rain, wind, hail and anything else she throws our way). Some important features for a good shelter are: a sloped roof, insulation, well ventilated, and big enough for the dog to stand and turn around in. Make sure you place the shelter is a shaded area as well, it won’t do them much good to lie in a dog house that is 10-30 degrees hotter then the outside temperature.
Summer months also bring travel; who does not want to bring Fido on the family vacation….right? I have a concrete rule that I follow no matter where I go or whose dog I have with me; they MUST be in a crate. I would feel horrible if I was distracted while driving and hurt someone else, me, or my dogs because I was paying attention to the dog and not the road. Having your poochie crated means they are out of the way and not a distraction to you or anyone else; never mind that most dogs want to sit in your lap, or prance around on the gear shift, or the ever common blocking the rear view mirror. Another benefit to having your dog crated is that if you were in an accident the dog is more likely to stay in the car/ crate…..it is safer to have them in a crate; think of it like a doggie seat belt ( actual dog seat belts are an option too). Poochie can get more comfortable in a crate anyway; it is flat and they are able to lay down and get comfortable and join the rest of the snoozing passengers in the vehicles. Another good thing about crates is that when you open the car door the dog does not bolt for the nearest interesting object which, I am sad to say, could be across the road; you have more control over a crated dog than a free floating dog. Something to keep in mind if you must have your dog out while driving, don’t let them hang out the window…..they are distracting to other drivers (which the road doesn’t need any more of) and there is a strong possibility that debris could strike them in the eye. Along with debris that could harm your beloved poochie keep in mind that if you have a free range dog in the front seat the air bags could harm them when deployed. I guess my bottom line is: Children belong in seat-belts; Dogs belong in crates! When you leave the vehicle with your ” crated guard dog” make sure that you roll the windows down and so there is good ventilation. Vehicles have a tendency to turn into ovens when sealed up so, don’t cook your dog! Remember it does not have to be 90 degrees out for it to be dangerous for a dog to be sealed up in a vehicle; 50 – 60 degrees and be very dangerous as well, especially if you have a dark vehicle. If you need to leave poochie in the vehicle for a longer length of time park in the shade; this will help with over heating also leave poochie with a travel bowl of water (they are the snap on dishes that come with a crate that I seem to collect by the dozen) and roll down the windows at least 2-4 inches and go check on your dog….(he might need to go potty). Now, if you are like me and are even more paranoid about my dogs overheating in a well ventilated vehicle, with water, in the shade, and after a swim (the dog is soaking wet) you can get crate fans that clip onto the crate dog and cool them down. The ones I have even have thermostats on them. If you want to put Fido free running in the back of a truck………………….DON”T! Talk to any Vet about how many dogs come in with severe injuries from jumping from the back of a moving truck. Torn pads, shattered hips, broken jaws with half of their teeth left on the pavement……and don’t think that tying him in the back of a truck is any better. I have heard more than once of a dog hanging himself from his own lead over the edge of the truck. This is simply incredebly dangerous and is an accident waiting to happen nevermind the increased distraction to others.